Wyoming Liberty Group
- Replace Taxation Fixation with Bloat Elimination to Clear the Skies
Just when you think Wyoming's economic outlook can’t get any darker, it does. The Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) released its April 2016 update and sent a clear warning to policymakers. The report showed lower than expected revenue collections from most sources for fiscal year 2016, ending this June. The state is in trouble right now and the situation could be much worse in the 2017/18 biennium.
On Thursday April 28 the Bureau of Economic Analysis released its advance estimate of GDP growth for the first quarter of 2016:
Real gross domestic product -- the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy less the value of the goods and services used up in production, adjusted for price changes -- increased at an annual rate of 0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016, according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 1.4 percent.
The State Building Commission has a 100-year tradition of managing state buildings, and reviewing and approving construction budgets. It includes the five elected officials, the Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer and Superintendent of Public Instruction. With budget responsibility, you might think it plays a part in the Capitol Square Project fiasco, but no. A committee dominated by the legislature, the Capitol Oversight Group, took over that project in 2014, and today, the project scope and costs are spiraling out of control.
Who knew a State Building Commission (SBC) meeting could include a discussion that perhaps surpassed the limit of orderly conduct? During a presentation on space allocation, a fiery exchange between Senator Phil Nicholas and Secretary of State Ed Murray made it clear that a battle may be brewing over renovation priorities at the Wyoming Capitol. This clash also indicates it may not be so easy for a certain senator to shift the blame for the cost overruns to someone else.
Maureen Bader and Chuck Gray discuss the lack of transparency in one of Wyoming's corporate welfare schemes - Legislatively Determined Investments, on KVOC. Listen as Maureen and Chuck talk about one example of a handout directed at a specific company and how the legislation changed to disguse its true intent.
Cheyenne has a housing supply and affordability problem. Housing is scarce and expensive relative to household incomes in the area, but current regulations force developers to add unnecessary costs in the name of “aesthetics” to satisfy the architectural taste preferences of regulators. Boyd Wiggam and Doug Randall of KGAB discuss the City Council's rejection of a deregulation proposal that would have saved money for families on a 5-5 vote—even though the regulatory costs are ultimately passed along to the lower-income families that are struggling to find housing that fits within their budgets.
Maureen Bader and Glenn Woods discuss the use of the Permanent Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund to pay for subsidized loans to private business. During a time when we have legislative committees talking about new taxes, the last thing the people of Wyoming should be forced fund are handouts to private businesses.