Wyoming Liberty Group
CHEYENNE, WY –Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed Senate File 46 this afternoon, which amends civil asset forfeiture under the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act. The bill passed the Wyoming Legislature with a final vote of 90-0. It implements a preliminary hearing for property owners, increases the evidence required to forfeit suspected drug property, and provides legal fees to property owners when the state fails to prove its case for forfeiture, among other changes.
Would the federal government ever renege on its promise to continue funding a program? Never, you say? The Wyoming Family Literacy Program at the Community College Commission is a good example of a costly entitlement program that lost its federal funding, leaving the entire tab to the Wyoming taxpayer. But the story gets even worse. This program is a costly duplication of other programs and more, it doesn’t meet its goals. The Joint Appropriations Committee made the right decision when it defunded this program.
The Veil of Secrecy is Drawn
When visions of Taj Mahals at the Wyoming Capitol are coupled with state revenues tumbling into the abyss, count on some Wyoming legislators to figure out how to keep on spending. One creative solution is to hide escalating costs in other agency budgets. But burying spending takes the Capitol renovation project in the wrong direction. Instead of creating a legacy debt and higher taxes, the Capitol project must remain transparent and be brought back to a basic renovation, one that Wyoming taxpayers can afford.
If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.
Choosing to expand Medicaid is like deciding to marry for the sake of a dream honeymoon when disillusionment is the likely outcome. Fortunately, seven members of the Joint Appropriations Committee rescued Wyoming from a looming and ill-conceived entitlement marriage by voting to strip Medicaid Expansion from the 2017-18 budget appropriations bill.
Powering through savings won’t save the state
Wyoming’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Group presented its January forecast update this week. The update shows a continued fall in minerals revenue. No surprise, and given the current situation, expect more of the same as Wyoming’s budget session kicks into gear.
Current budget draws school Rainy Day Fund down to zero
All the hand wringing about the budget shortfall so far has focused on spend-as-usual government operations paid for with funds from traditional state spending accounts and augmented by a Rainy Day Fund raid. But the state has other accounts with an even bigger and more immediate problem: the K-12 education accounts. These accounts, just like the traditional accounts, are running short of cash. Governor Mead’s solution to the 2017-18 shortfall is to—wait for it—raid the school Rainy Day Fund!
When politicians justify handing out public dollars for private benefit, they use the word investment to spin this spending into something more palatable to voters. However, state directed spending in the economy is nothing more than economic central planning in disguise. To stop the growth in central planning in Wyoming, we must bring the state’s role back to that of an umpire, rather than a participant, in the economy.