Wyoming Liberty Group
In the first three installments of this series we looked at the aggregate-demand side of the U.S. economy. The overall message is that the economy is in pretty good shape, given the circumstances: the private-sector share of the economy has grown over the past 15 years, consumers buy more durables (such as cars) while maintaing a steady overall level of indebtedness; business investments are increasingly stable at a high rate - and government consumption and investment spending has been declining for a couple of years.
Yesterday I reported some data showing that the U.S. economy is in good shape from a structural viewpoint. Household spending and business investments - domestic private-sector activity - today absorb a larger share of output than they did under the Bush Jr. administration. Government consumption and investment spending has taken a step back, and the foreign trade balance is in better shape today than at the height of the Bush business cycle.
Next year, Wyoming voters will be faced with a ballot measure to legalize, and create a tax on, marijuana. As part of the preparation for the vote, it is a good idea to study what has happened in Colorado since legalization. The Washington Times keeps up with the latest developments:
Everyone in Colorado from Republicans to marijuana moguls wants to stop welfare cash from being used to buy recreational pot, but standing in their way are the state’s formidable legislative Democrats. Despite mounting evidence that “welfare for weed” is more than an urban myth, Democratic legislators are balking at a bill that would add marijuana dispensaries and strip clubs to the list of places, along with casinos and liquor stores, where debit-style benefits cards cannot be used to withdraw cash from automatic teller machines, or ATMs.
As the legislature works its grinds, turning bills into recycling or legislation, the day comes closer when the proposed Vision 2020 commission begins its work. Senate File 122, referred to the Senate Revenue Committee on January 27, is very likely going to end up on Governor Mead’s desk. The purpose of the commission is to comprehensively review state revenue and expenditure in response to the mounting fiscal problems awaiting the state in just a couple of years.
The two most recent reports from CREG, the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group, tell of a mounting revenue problem for the state government. This has now led to the introduction of a bill - S122 - to the ongoing legislative session that calls for the formation of a group to find a solution to the problem.