Wyoming Liberty Group
Governments everywhere favor some companies over others by showering them with other people’s money. In Wyoming, the constitution forbids legislators from giving tax dollars away directly, but this hasn’t stopped indirect giveaways. One giveaway is called Public Purpose Investment, or PPI. Although sold on the basis of its supposed benefits, these corporate welfare programs hurt competition and divert money to less productive uses.
Our founding Fathers understood the importance of an independent executive branch of government. The Cheyenne City Council however, is preparing to ask citizens to vote on a City Charter amendment that would create an appointed administrator to replace the independent, strong mayor for most executive functions. The appointed City Administrator would answer to the City Council—not directly to the voters. This would concentrate almost all the power of local government into the legislative branch and lessen the accountability of government to the people. The City Council is barreling ahead with a special election to ram this change through, but citizens still have time to fix the proposed charter amendment or defeat the power grab entirely. Sheridan’s citizens were not so fortunate earlier this year when the Sheridan City Council decided to start the process to create a City Administrator position without a special election.
This is the second of two articles on the July 7, 2015 Capitol Building Restoration Oversight Committee meeting. To read the first installment, please click here.
During Capitol Building Restoration Oversight committee meetings, Representative Kermit Brown has waxed worriedly about scope creep, and rightly so. In many construction projects, and particularly common in those funded by taxpayers, random musings find their way into the plan and the project’s scope can spiral from a basic renovation to a palatial reconstruction. But instead of worrying about how to rein in scope creep, Rep. Brown’s worries seem more concerned with appropriating money to fund it. To ensure our children and grandchildren are free from a legacy of debt and higher taxes as a result of Capitol Renovation overdrive, the Oversight committee must excise all palatial visions and get back to the basic renovation originally proposed. The people of Wyoming cannot afford to fund a monument to the egos of some legislators.
With no final design in sight and visions of palaces dancing in legislator’s heads, the Capitol reconstruction project is now $1 million over budget. St. Nicholas’s sleigh may be full of toys but what he seems to be leaving the people of Wyoming is a big bill, as the current cost overrun will no doubt be the first of many as the Capitol renovation project takes off.
Sheridan, Wyoming mom Sierra Mullinax traveled through the rolling hills of eastern Missouri recently, watching for Amish buggies to appear as she talked about her decision to change her children’s education. She and her kids were traveling on a 10-day, 12-state summer field trip.
“We’re trying to hit some of the sites we have studied this semester. My parents were both schoolteachers, and we spent a lot of time traveling in the summer. I just remembered that when I was in public school, when you actually got to see what you studied throughout the year, you learned so much more.”
In four weeks, the Supreme Court will rule on King v. Burwell. A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs invalidates federal insurance subsidies for the 36 states without a state exchange and frees them from the individual and employer mandate. States that built their own exchanges bound their residents to Obamacare’s mandates, penalties, and restrictions for the long-term. If the Obama Administration offers Wyoming and the other states without a state exchange insurance subsidies in return for building an exchange, they should not take the bait.
In Governor Mead’s 2015 supplemental budget, the governor called on the legislature to set up a reserve account for an industrial park, and the legislature complied with a $5 million appropriation. The idea comes from the Industrial Heartland in Alberta, Canada, an industrial park funded by the provincial and various local governments to attract oil and gas companies to the province. Although the governor has waxed eloquent on the Alberta government’s use of tax dollars to attract value-added oil and gas activity to the province to create jobs, the Industrial Heartland is but one example of a project financed by a government that lost its way, and has now paid the price at the polls.