Wyoming Liberty Group
WyLiberty Releases Next Preliminary Legislator Budget Frugality Scorecard
CHEYENNE, WY: The Wyoming Liberty Group released the Budget third reading amendment vote scorecard for Wyoming legislators today. This, together with the second reading amendment scorecard, measures the willingness of legislators to push the Wyoming general operations budget bill into deficit.
“Medicaid expansion created very unusual results in the third reading amendment scorecard in the Senate, and shows how an amendment’s structure can achieve disastrous results if its short-and-long-term consequences lack careful consideration,” said Maureen Bader, WyLiberty economist and study lead. “The first Medicaid expansion amendment showed a decrease in general fund spending of about $14 million, but the second Medicaid expansion amendment showed an increase in general fund spending by about $7 million. Thus, any senator who voted aye on both Medicaid expansion amendments received a net frugality improvement of $7 million.”
The database uses only third reading amendments with a roll call vote that increase or decrease the general fund budget appropriations. A frugal vote is the percentage of roll call votes on amendments that maintain or decrease the general fund appropriation and the percentage of dollars voted on that maintain or decrease the general fund appropriation.
“Third reading amendment frugality scores overall deteriorated considerably from second reading amendment results,” said Bader. “But a vote against Medicaid expansion protected the State from the amendment’s illusory savings and reinforced the Joint Appropriations Committee's effort at financial damage control, even though a nay vote prevented any senator from achieving a 100 percent score, and significantly improved the scores of Democrat senators.”
In the Senate, no legislator voted frugally 100 percent of the time or on 100 percent of the dollars on third reading amendments. On the House side, only one Representative, Harlan Edmonds, voted for frugality 100 percent of the time on 100 percent of the dollars. At the bottom of the list, no legislator voted against frugality 100 percent of the time or on 100 percent of the dollars on third reading amendments, but many Republicans joined the Democrats at the bottom of the list on the House side and five Republicans sat below all the Democrats on the list on the Senate side.
“State legislators have the power to prevent bad policies from inflicting major damage on the well-being of the people of Wyoming and it is imperative that they do so, however if state revenues continue to plummet, the current budget’s squandering of savings means that taxes will rise to support the lack of spending control,” said Bader. “Without careful consideration regarding the reach of government into individual liberty, our children and grandchildren will be left with a legacy of debt and higher taxes.”
A final Legislator Scorecard will be released later this week.
For more information, please call
Maureen Bader, Economist and Study Lead
Wyoming Liberty Group