Wyoming Liberty Group
Maureen Bader talks about the first round of the Wyoming Legislative Scorecard results. Are Wyoming legislators frugal or profilate? Be sure to listen to find out.
Wyoming's general appropriations budget primarily funds agency spending. To bring agency spending more into line with plummeting revenues, the Joint Appropriations Committee developed a so-called austerity plan. If only. Small cutlets to budget increases won't prevent panic tax hikes. The legislature must not leave a legacy of debt and higher taxes to future generations.
With Wyoming’s traditional funds falling faster than a brakeless coal car on an oily rail, the Joint Appropriations Committee has been scrambling to find money to continue spending on building construction. Then, like pennies from heaven, the state’s federal delegation managed to get the federal government to return the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) funds it slipped into its pocket to fuel its own runaway spending.
From a rainy day fund raid to cutlets to agency budgets, if political will for serious reform remains on the sidelines, look for spenders to call for ‘alternative revenue sources,’ and you know what that means.
Would the federal government ever renege on its promise to continue funding a program? Never, you say? The Wyoming Family Literacy Program at the Community College Commission is a good example of a costly entitlement program that lost its federal funding, leaving the entire tab to the Wyoming taxpayer. But the story gets even worse. This program is a costly duplication of other programs and more, it doesn’t meet its goals. The Joint Appropriations Committee made the right decision when it defunded this program.
The Veil of Secrecy is Drawn
When visions of Taj Mahals at the Wyoming Capitol are coupled with state revenues tumbling into the abyss, count on some Wyoming legislators to figure out how to keep on spending. One creative solution is to hide escalating costs in other agency budgets. But burying spending takes the Capitol renovation project in the wrong direction. Instead of creating a legacy debt and higher taxes, the Capitol project must remain transparent and be brought back to a basic renovation, one that Wyoming taxpayers can afford.