Wyoming Liberty Group
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!
Supporters of Medicaid Expansion, including Governor Matt Mead, express an unwavering belief that the federal government will actually fund this entitlement as promised. Yet Washington’s promises often become unfunded mandates. Even before the end of this year it is likely that Congress will cut federal funding for Medicaid Expansion and leave states holding the bag.
A Rainy Day Fund Raid with a Twist of Sour Lime
Wyoming stands at a fork in the road. Throughout the 2000’s, politicians played Santa Claus with a severance tax bonanza. Saving some of that windfall in a variety of savings accounts mitigated this pork-fest.
Now, as the minerals boom turns to bust, many of our elected representatives look covetously at those savings as a way to shield themselves from the difficult choices involved in limiting government to a level remaining taxpayers can afford to fund.
Halloween has passed, but it seems zombie bills come back again. One example is Representative Byrd’s Abandoned Buildings bill from the Wyoming Legislature’s 2015 General Session. The abandoned buildings bill was a direct attack on owners of historic buildings in downtown Cheyenne who have struggled for years to find profitable tenants to fill their buildings. The House Corporations Committee rightly killed the bill last session, but like all good zombies, it came back again.
Maureen Bader and Chuck Gray discuss Governor Mead’s Business Forum in Cheyenne this week and the legislative panel’s discussion of possible strategies to deal with the budget deficit. From raiding the Rainy Day Fund to digging holes and filling them up again, our elected officials skirt around the need for fundamental reform. November 18, 2015
Great American men of letters like Russell Kirk and M.E. Bradford have written much about the contrast between those who favor human realities and those who wish to impose utopias on human society. While we are tempted to consign these considerations to the dusty shelves of aging libraries, we do so at our peril. Government utopias are phony constructs that cost taxpayers and citizens dearly; they leave in their wake decades of destruction, as history has shown us.
The Capitol Renovation Oversight Group met once again discussed alternative designs for the Herschler building renovation and their budget implications. Although briefly mentioned, the option to leave the Herschler renovation for another day went disregarded.
The Herschler renovation may still go the way of the Dodo should project costs continue to rise.