Wyoming Liberty Group
Will Wyoming legislators work to reduce the rainy day fund raid - or not? And what else about the amendment process creates concerns? Be sure to listen to find out.
Wyoming's general appropriations budget primarily funds agency spending. To bring agency spending more into line with plummeting revenues, the Joint Appropriations Committee developed a so-called austerity plan. If only. Small cutlets to budget increases won't prevent panic tax hikes. The legislature must not leave a legacy of debt and higher taxes to future generations.
With Wyoming’s traditional funds falling faster than a brakeless coal car on an oily rail, the Joint Appropriations Committee has been scrambling to find money to continue spending on building construction. Then, like pennies from heaven, the state’s federal delegation managed to get the federal government to return the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) funds it slipped into its pocket to fuel its own runaway spending.
When it comes to budget building, actions speak louder than words. Legislators talk about spending restraint, but when they continue to funnel depleting funds at golf courses, you've got to wonder just how serious they are.
From a rainy day fund raid to cutlets to agency budgets, if political will for serious reform remains on the sidelines, look for spenders to call for ‘alternative revenue sources,’ and you know what that means.
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.
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.