As we enter the final month of the 2021 legislative session, our attention shifts to passing state budgets. In odd years, the legislature creates three separate two-year budgets: An operating, transportation and capital budget. Today I’m going to address the operating budget.
2021 Operating budget – you name it, they taxed it!
Before I address the details of this year’s Senate Democrats’ operating budget proposal, I want to share how much it spends: $59.5 billion. That’s a $7 billion increase from just two years ago. In just six years (2015-17 to 2021-23), our state budget has grown by over $20 billion and over 50%! The Democrats said they wanted to, “Go big” with this budget and they certainly achieved that, but it’s easy to do when you give with one hand and take with the other by adding and increasing taxes required to support this bloated monster.
Introducing new taxes is completely unnecessary; we know we can balance the budget with the funds we already have. Senate Republicans proposed an operating budget eight weeks ago that didn’t raise taxes and didn’t cut services; ($55.5 billion or $4 billion less) and this was before we received our March revenue projections which added an additional $3.3 billion to this budget. This is money we should have used to save our small businesses by replenishing the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. Additionally, Senate Democrats spend ALL of our state’s Rainy-Day Fund – that’s another $1.8 billion dollars!