Wyoming Liberty Group
This article is not about Wyoming. Not directly, at least. But it is about the values that the people of this great state hold dear: freedom and self determination. Beyond our state borders - in fact, beyond the borders of the United States - a new, aggressive brand of radical socialism is on the rise. It is more radical than the ideas that brought Obama to the White House. While it is, essentially, yet another form of the same totalitarian threat to Western Civilization that we have fought so hard to defeat, its ability to morph and adapt makes it harder to detect. But like all collectivist, authoritarian ideologies it preys on economic despair and fills the void where opportunity and freedom should be. Let us never drop our guard. Let us never become complacent. Let us always remember the words of Ronald Reagan: Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
--- Originally published at The Liberty Bullhorn ---
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.
Today Tuesday the House will hold its second reading of HB75, the Compact for a Balanced Budget bill that proposes a debt-limitation balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Yesterday's first reading included a vigorous debate, demonstrating that this is an issue the members of the House take very seriously. The vote, 35-23, also shows that while the idea of a balanced budget amendment is accepted in principle, there is still some hesitation as to whether or not the Compact is the right way to go.
And now it is official - Senate File 0122 now formally proposes the formation of a Skyfall 2020 commission:
An act relating to the administration of government; creating the Vision 2020 comprehensive expenditure and revenue review; providing for oversight of the review by the management council of the Wyoming legislature; creating the Vision 2020 comprehensive expenditure and revenue review advisory panel; creating areas of review; providing for the creation of task forces as specified; providing for appointment of members to the advisory panel and task forces; providing for assignment of duties as specified; providing for reports; providing an appropriation; and providing for an effective date.
This morning the House Revenue Committee passed HB0075 and HJ004, both proposing a so called Article V venue to put a balanced-budget amendment on the U.S. constitution. The two bills share the same goal, and the organizations that provide the background material - Compact for America (HB75) and the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force (HJ4) - are for all intents and purposes fellow travellers. There is one major difference, though, between the two alternatives: the Compact model comes with a ready-to-go amendment; the Task Force, on the other hand, would leave it to the Article V Convention to draft the amendment.
An early warning signal started blinking back in October 2014 to alert Wyomingites about the effect of falling minerals prices on the state budget. The blinking has now turned into a frenetic flashing. The October revenue shortfall of $4.4 million for the 2015-16 budget now sits at $222 million. As a result, legislators must not only reject new spending that would add to this deficit, they must cut the current budgets of state agencies.
The state budget problems that I have been warning about since last summer have finally caught up with our state lawmakers. Those who did not hear the wake-up call in the October CREG report certainly woke up to the alarm bells in the January report, which I analyzed on Monday: