Wyoming Liberty Group

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Myths Feed Hopes, Dreams and Spending Scams

Doublespeak (def) language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words.
     Wikipedia

Great minds have once again taken up an important question – should the state sanction the use of a mythical creature as a tourism ploy. Eye rolling aside, the term ploy also seems to apply to a new state bureaucracy, the Lottery Corporation. Turns out the revenue from the Lottery Corporation may be just as mythical as the jackalope.

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Tax and Gouge Task Force

Facing a state budget deficit, declining revenues and the desire to continue spending, Gov. Mead asked, “What constitutes a rainy day?” This thinly veiled call to raid the state’s rainy day account to fund his spending priorities was ignored by the legislature. Instead, the legislature began the search for more revenues by developing a task force called Vision 2020. But if the legislature keeps its focus on revenue mining instead of spending withdrawal, it is merely delaying the rainy day fund raid –or worse, it is leaving a legacy of debt and higher taxes to our children and grandchildren.

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The Murky Purpose of Government Spending

          To spend, perchance to Dream of spending; Aye, there’s the rub.

Wyoming’s government is searching high and low for money for priorities, but just what is top of mind? The government is facing a $222 million budget deficit in the 2015-16 biennium but has money squirreled away in other accounts to contine spending, but on what? Just what are these other accounts? But even more important: why one priority and not another?

Wyoming’s Department of Transportation tells the sorry tale.

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Maureen Bader speaks with Gary Freeman on KGAB about about governor’s response to plummeting oil prices and the legislature’s attempt to rein in spending

Maureen Bader speaks with Gary Freeman on KGAB about about governor’s response to plummeting oil prices and the legislature’s attempt to rein in spending. January 30, 2015 – KGAB

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JAC Reins In Supplemental Budget Blowout

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things. Wyoming’s Joint Appropriations Committee (JAC) is talking about a time for spending caution—but it must do  more than hold steady. With falling oil prices and a rising deficit, the time has come to rein in government spending.

The JAC started to review Gov. Mead’s supplemental budget on January 21, 2015. JAC Chairman Senator Tony Ross set the tone when he said, “each and every budget item has a constituency, however there is not one dime we can spend here that isn’t one-time money. I am urging you to be cautious about what you spend and whether or not it is reoccurring because if it is—it will come back and double.”

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The Solution to Too Much Government is Less, not More

Senate File 68 – Property rights ombudsman is yet another example of the compounding cost of government regulatory interference. This bill would create an Office of Private Lands and Energy Ombudsman.

Normally, anything that would strengthen the position of private property rights owners versus state regulation should be a good thing. For that reason alone, SF 68 deserves a serious look by the Wyoming Legislature. However, that serious look must also be tempered by serious analysis. Legislators and citizens need to look past the catchy property rights ombudsman title of SF 68 and think critically about what this bill really says about the state of private property rights in Wyoming and even how the bill’s provisions might interact with existing private property rights. That analysis yields several, deeper questions that HB 68’s $150,000 price tag might not answer.

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Squirreled Away Saving Sing a Siren’s Song

Like the beautiful voices of the Sirens of Greek mythology, large savings accounts are luring Wyoming’s ship of state to fiscal doom. The deficit in Wyoming’s traditional spending accounts has increased from a relatively miniscule $4.4 million to a whopping $217 million, for a total deficit of $222 million in Wyoming’s 2015-16 biennium budget. 

Has this deficit motivated Gov. Mead to call for lower spending? No. Instead of asking agencies to tighten their belts, or even reducing his own additional spending request of $156 million, the governor upped his supplemental by almost $10 million, leaving the state in a deficit position of $389 million for the biennium.

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