Majority is using a “felony budget gimmick,” which the State Treasurer calls a “dangerous precedent” and has urged the Legislature to reject.
We received some particularly alarming news late last night, when the Senate majority unveiled a last-minute, secret plan to do an “end run” around the state constitution in order to irresponsibly raid the state’s emergency rainy-day fund.
Although state government expects to take in $2.3 billion in additional tax revenue, the Senate Democrat majority is still looking to raid budget reserves using what has been described as a “felony budget gimmick.” The proposed amendment to Senate Bill 6614 violates the spirit and intent of voter-approved protections that place extraordinary revenue growth into the budget stabilization account.
Voters in every county approved a constitutional amendment (Senate Joint Resolution 8206) in 2011, to protect extraordinary revenue during times of strong economic growth. Using the money generally requires a 60 percent vote in the Legislature.
The Democrats’ proposed amendment to the bill would get around this by funneling $935 million in property tax revenues to the education legacy trust account. Redirecting the funds lowers general-fund revenues, which circumvents the spirit of the law by reducing the amount of money going into the rainy-day fund by more than $700 million.
After the majority’s plan became public our state treasurer, Duane Davidson, briefed our caucus about the devastating impact such a move would have on the state’s bond rating. He was outraged.
Just moments ago…