Senate Tax Committee Chair Roger Chamberlain introduced a provision yesterday that would fund state government operations for the next two years at current projected spending levels in case a deal isn't reached by the Governor and Senator Gazelka in the next 3 days. The Continuing Appropriations provisionwould amend HF 2032 in a fashion similar to the continuing resolutions that the federal congress has been employing for the last decade.
This bill would not freeze spending, despite what some people might be led to believe. It actually grows the government by 6.5% because it uses the February Economic Forecastof upcoming biennium spending. Often times legislators say that our state has automatic spending increases. But this is obviously not the case since a bill like this is needed to avert a government shutdown.
How do we calculate this number? The February Report forecasts that upcoming biennium spending would be $47.4 Billion, but it would also leave a $1 Billion budgetary surplus. That means the government would hold on to that amount for future spending and not give it back to taxpayers.
Since the Republican Senate has failed us tremendously this year in keeping campaign promises to shrink the size and scope of government, Chamberlain's bill would appear to be the best deal on the table. However, the bill as written, would fully fund the fraudulent child care program for the next two years and would ensure the budget surplus does not go back to taxpayers.