Friday, February 27, 2009

The Democrat Addiction to Spending

We're at the end of the sixth week of session and we've yet to send one meaningful state spending-reduction bill to the governor's desk. We've been relegated to taking small steps by passing "budgetary-reduction" bills that have more language than substance and reaffirm state-hiring and travel freezes that amount to a gentle lean in the right direction rather than a good solid step.

The strategy employed by budget writers appears to be to wait until Obama Claus comes through with federal tax dollars to fill part of the budget hole. Then, scream bloody murder and capitulate to special interests at taxpayer expense.

Republican legislators have been told the solution to our state's budget dilemma will be a bipartisan one, although the house of cards which formed the structure of our budget deficit was not.

Fueled by an apparent addiction to spending, the Democrat majority in the Legislature increased the size of the state's operating budget by 33 percent in just four years. Republican legislators, who, for the most part, have been locked out of the budget-writing process during this time, warned of excessive spending on new entitlement programs.

"We can't continue to spend more than we're taking in!" we'd say, at every opportunity. And yet, each quarterly revenue forecast would show a strong economy bolstered by historic gains in the construction and housing industries.

In essence, the Legislature spent more money than was coming in, but rolled the dice anyway and was continually bailed out by a strong housing market. Now that we've rolled "snake eyes," it's time to pay the house.
The Legislature's inability to say "no" over a four-year period turned a $1.6 billion surplus into one of the largest deficits in state history. It will be the Legislature's inability to say "no" again that will lead to the biggest gamble yet: a significant tax increase sent to the voters in November.

My hope is that the people of this state show more backbone than the Legislature and reject any tax increase put before them. We don't need another bailout at taxpayer expense.

Rep. Gary Alexander

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