Thursday, February 25, 2010

Budget Balancing Bills

The Senate this week will pass 30 some bills to bring the budget into balance for the current fiscal year.

Most of the bills are just minor adjustments to each department of state government that reduces spending to reflect the money saved by furloughing state employees.

There are no bills that truly seek to reform government by controling the growth of spending on Medicaid or revamping our educational system into something that works better, smarter and faster.

Mostly business as usual and a continued lack of leadership during these tough times by the Governor and the majority party.

There are a couple of bills that are really offensive: one that transfers $87 million in cash funds to the general fund – a common occurrence during tough economic times and one that establishes a new bed tax on nursing homes to raise money that will be used to seek a match of federal funds for those same nursing homes.

The cash fund raid takes money from a dozen other areas of state government, most of the $87 million comes from severance taxes on oil, gas and coal. The same industries demonized by many of the Democrats voting to raid the funds. How ironic.

The nursing home bed tax will be used to offset a cut in funding to the same nursing homes. The money raised from the bed tax will be sent right back to the nursing homes so that the state will qualify for a federal match in funding for those nursing homes. Man, that’s creative!

I’ll end up voting for the bills that really reduce spending even though I am disappointed that no real creative thinking is going into solving the budget problem by reforming government in a way that permanently reduces spending.

I will vote against the cash fund raids and nursing home bed tax.

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