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Tag Archives: Balanced Budget

$17 Trillion In Federal Debt…. …Then What?!?!

If Congress approves a $2.5 Trillion increase in the Debt Limit (which should be called a Tax Increase), what happens when we get to $17 Trillion?

We KNOW Congress will spend that $2.5 Trillion.

Will the Republicans suddenly grow a backbone then?  When we hit $17 Trillion during an election year, will the Republicans actually force the Democrats hand?  Or, will they capitulate when the Democrats and State Run Media beat them over the heads again?!?!

h/t http://politicalhumor.about.com/bio/Daniel-Kurtzman-8621.htm

Obama doesn’t want to balance the budget.  His budget, voted down 97-0 in the Senate ADDED $10 Trillion over the next decade.  The Democrats will NEVER balance the budget!!

The American voters know that and that’s why there was a 60-Seat shift in the House.  That November 2010 vote was to STOP this out of control spending.

Now is the time to force the Democrats into a balanced budget by refusing to up the Debt Limit!

Stand Firm!

Be a statesman and not a politician… …because a vote for the Gang of Six compromise will be the end of your political career anyway!

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Senator Crowell: On The Missouri State Budget (Part 3)

By Missouri State Senator Jason Crowell (jcrowell@senate.mo.gov):

(Read Part 1 here)

(Read Part 2 here)

Missouri’s State Budget

We must Stop Balancing the Budget on the

Backs of our Children through Education Cuts

As part of our look into Missouri’s current budget situation, we previously examined where we are, where we are headed and some of the factors that have put us in this situation. In my opinion, the politicians have failed to act and instead pushed Missouri’s budget deficit off to the future. Because of the situation Missouri is in, now is the time for leaders to enact real reforms that will make sure the spending of your tax dollars are in line with our values.

One area where Missouri can reform is in the process of awarding a large number of tax credits at the cost of cuts to education. Politicians always say education is their number one priority, yet their actions show a different truth. They continue to show tax credits are their number one priority by continuing to increase the amount of tax credits given out by 407.9% over the last 12 years. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in tax liability that would otherwise be due to the state. This means that every dollar that is given away in a tax credit is a dollar that our state government must replace by increasing taxes or making cuts in current programs; and taking more of your hard earned money is not an option.

The state offers many tax credits for a diverse list of causes, including historic preservation, low-income housing, livestock breeding, and business development. But the popularity of tax credits can often be traced to the pockets of big businesses and special interests. These special interests are well represented by lobbyists in the halls of the Capitol who convince legislators that special interest tax credits create jobs or enhance economic development when all they really do is line the pockets of their beneficiaries.

One of the biggest offenders of using Missouri’s scarce resources are the developers receiving the Low Income Housing Tax Credits. This program provides federal and state tax credits to investors where, each year for 10 years, these tax credits can be sold to raise equity to construct or acquire and rehabilitate affordable rental housing. Low Incoming Housing Tax Credits though, are, as a 2008 report by the Missouri Auditor called it, “costly” and “inefficient.” The audit showed that only 35 cents for every dollar in tax credits go to development costs while the remaining 65 cents go to investor needs. The same auditor’s report also criticized the selection process of not documenting how projects are selected; suggesting that political influence impacts the selection of Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

I believe it is this political influence that made Missouri # 2 in the nation in 2009 for Low Income Housing Tax Credits ($106 million) and #1 in the nation for Historic Preservation Tax Credits ($186 million). At the same time, the U.S. Census Bureau reports Missouri is 45th in per capita funding of higher education and 32nd in per capita funding for K-12. I believe this spending is backwards and does not represent our priorities.

In Missouri, the method by which we set Missouri’s priorities in spending your tax dollars is in the appropriation process. Through this process, we ask each of the state’s expenses to stand in line before your representatives in the General Assembly; requiring them to demonstrate why, with limited resources, they should be funded over others. The problem with Missouri’s current tax credit system is the politically connected who receive tax credits, cut to the front of the line, receiving their $521 million in 2010 first, without ever coming before your elected representatives. Then, after waiting in line, when education finally reached the front of the line, the politicians had to tell teachers and students, sorry, we don’t have the money to fund our educational needs and underfunded K-12 funding by $23.8 million.

This is why as part of protecting educational opportunities; we must incorporate fundamental reform to Missouri’s tax credit system. My plan is to subject tax credits to the appropriations process. This way, instead of playing favorites by being able to cut ahead of the line, tax credits will be made to stand in line like every other state expenditure. In this process, your elected representatives will have the chance to look at all the things we spend your tax dollars on and prioritize accordingly. It also creates a transparent process for developers to be held accountable for a return on investment for receiving your hard earned tax dollars.

I believe we need to reform tax credits, not spend more on them through the creation of new ones. But sadly, House leaders disagree. In next week’s column, I will share with you the coming battle to protect our children’s future educational opportunities versus giving away your hard earned tax dollars in tax credits to politicians’ campaign contributors.

Another great place to start is in the waste at MODot.  It’s a stunning waste of money to put up signs telling me that they are widening the road on I-55 between Barnhart and Festus (and other places throughout the state) when it’s obvious that they are working on the road.

It takes just 8 of those signs to wipe out the entirety of my yearly Income Tax contributions to the state coffers.  How many ‘citizen years’ do you think MODot wastes on the fancy new digital signs that are now lining the Interstates and tributaries… …that generally say, “Buckle Your Seat Belts”

And, these are just the most blatant and obvious wastes in the department.

Each expenditure throughout all state departments must be gauged on how many citizens must work all year long to pay for the item with their sales and income taxes!

That is the appropriations process we need!

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459. You may write to me at Jason Crowell; Missouri Senate; State Capitol; Jefferson City, MO 65101, or e-mail me at: jcrowell@senate.mo.gov or visit me on the web at http://www.senate.mo.gov/crowell.

h/t senate.mo.gov

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2011 in Balanced Budget, Conservative, Taxes

 

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Senator Crowell: On The Missouri State Budget (Part 2)

By Missouri State Senator Jason Crowell (jcrowell@senate.mo.gov):

(Read Part 1 here)

Missouri’s State Budget

We must Stop Balancing the Budget on the

Backs of our Children through Education Cuts

As part of our look into Missouri’s current budget situation, we previously examined where we are, where we are headed and some of the factors that have put us in this situation. In my opinion, the politicians have failed to act and instead pushed Missouri’s budget deficit off to the future. The past two annual budgets have been built on hundreds of millions of one-time federal stabilization and stimulus dollars, which are now gone. And while maintaining inflated state spending levels using these one-time federal bailout dollars, the state still spent more than it had.

In 2009, Missouri saw a revenue decline of -6.9% ($585 million) followed with another revenue decline in 2010 of -9.1% ($676 million). And while this past year, 2011, there was a modest gain of 5.93% ($401.9 million) from 2010, we are still $827.7 million below the 2008 high-water mark in revenues.

With these revenue declines as a warning, the state took limited steps to right size government to match revenues. In the past two sessions, the General Assembly:

  • Passed reforms to the pension plans covering Missouri’s state employees and judges. Through the establishment of a new benefit tier for state employees and judges hired on or after January 1, 2011, pension reform legislation brought these Missouri pension plans into line with current economic realities and changes in the demographics of state employees. These reforms will save taxpayers more than $650 million over the next 10 years.
  • Ended the free printing of State Manuals, known as the Blue Book, and stopped providing judges and General Assembly member’s free volumes of Missouri State Statutes saving taxpayers $1.7 million every two years.
  • Merged Missouri’s Water Patrol and Highway Patrol into one law enforcement agency. With one law enforcement agency, taxpayer dollars were used more efficiently by deleting redundant systems and minimizing equipment and buildings being duplicated by both agencies, saving taxpayers an estimated $900,000 a year.

But those limited steps were not and are not enough. Even combined with $2.851 billion in one-time Federal Stabilization funds from 2009 to 2012 and another $1.861 billion in Federal Stimulus funds, Missouri did not fully fund the foundation formula for K-12 education by $23 million in 2009, another $74 million in 2011, and another $177 million in 2012. In total, K-12 education has not received $274 million it should have, according to the state foundation formula, in the last three years as well as over $60 million in cuts to transportation funding. Furthermore, Missouri’s funding for higher education is also being cut. In 2011, funding decreased by 10% followed by another 7% in 2012, totaling $186.5 million. This means Missouri’s universities and community colleges will have to find ways, most likely through tuition and fee increases, to cover an overall reduction in higher education funding of $306.8 million from the high-water mark of 2010. The politicians have said to you that education is their number one priority, but they have done very little in Jefferson City to prove it.

Get this… …the Missouri Legislature has run a deficit balanced the budget over the 4 years based on Federal funds.  In other words, the budget was not balanced based on Missouri’s tax and spending.  This is the same line that Republicans and Democrats tell you when they say they balanced the budget in 2000-2001.

I believe we should not be asking our children to sacrifice their educational opportunities because Missouri government cannot find ways to spend your hard earned tax dollars more efficiently and effectively. The past three years have been a perfect opportunity for leaders to take bold actions in government spending that would have protected education from these cuts. Instead, the politicians in Jefferson City failed because they have been more focused on their next election and their campaign contributors than with the realities of today.

As we continue to discuss Missouri’s budget, I do not just want to point to missed opportunities. I also want to highlight future opportunities to make real reforms so that educational opportunities to our children can be protected. In the coming weeks, I will share with you commonsense reforms that will put Missouri’s spending in line with our values. The answer is not found in raising taxes, or going into debt through bonding or even using the state’s rainy day fund. The answer is found by taking an honest approach to our priorities in how your money is spent and by passing legislative reforms that do not put special interests before our children’s educational opportunities. Now is the time for leaders to lead so that our children’s future does not continue to suffer the cost of our state’s backward spending priorities.

Although I think there is plenty of room to reduce bureaucracy and spending in Missouri’s Education System, I look forward to Senator Crowell’s future thoughts on the way to balance the budget without reducing education spending!

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459. You may write to me at Jason Crowell; Missouri Senate; State Capitol; Jefferson City, MO 65101, or e-mail me at: jcrowell@senate.mo.gov or visit me on the web at http://www.senate.mo.gov/crowell.

h/t senate.mo.gov

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2011 in Balanced Budget, Conservative, Taxes

 

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Senator Crowell: On The Missouri State Budget

By Missouri State Senator Jason Crowell (jcrowell@senate.mo.gov):

Missouri’s State Budget

We must Stop Balancing the Budget on the

Backs of our Children through Education Cuts

As headline after headline in the news is dominated with stories on government’s excessive spending and its rising deficits, I, like many across Missouri am concerned with Missouri’s long-term financial well being.  The question becomes, do we want to make the decisions now to fix the problem or ignore it and be destroyed by it in the future.

I believe our current budget situation has developed in large part because the politicians in Jefferson City have forgotten that they won an election to lead today by making decisions but instead have chose to focus on their next election by catering to special interests and campaign contributors.  The past few years gave plenty of warning that it was time for the state to live within its means.  In 2009, Missouri saw a revenue decline of -6.9% ($585 million) followed with another revenue decline in 2010 of -9.1% ($676 million).  And through May 2011 state revenue has grown only 2.6%.  The problem with this growth is that when spending your money, the General Assembly spent expecting 3.6% growth or $70 million more than they really had.

As revenues have dropped, the politicians have failed to lead and make the decisions to balance Missouri’s budget, instead, opting to push the looming budget deficit off to the future.  The past two years the General Assembly has passed budgets built on hundreds of millions of one-time federal stabilization and stimulus dollars, which are now gone.  And while maintaining inflated state spending levels using one-time federal bailout dollars, the state still spent more than it had because revenues decreased below estimates.  By spending more money than it had, the budget has been out of balance forcing Governor Nixon to withhold dollars from vital state programs, specifically from education.

So, even though history gave politicians a clear indication of what was to come, the General Assembly again this year decided to put off decision making.  This year, the General Assembly passed a $23.2 billion budget which includes $400 million in one-time federal stabilization funds.  The budget also assumes that state revenues will grow at 4% next year, which is $70 million more than Missouri’s revenues have historically grown.  If Missouri does not exceed its historical pattern of growth, the Governor will at the very least have to withhold or veto $154 million just to balance the out of balance budget politicians gave him.

The out of balance budget became real two weeks ago when Governor Nixon was forced to withhold and veto $57 million from what the General Assembly appropriated.  Unfortunately, because the General Assembly failed to address Missouri’s budget shortfalls this year, the Governor chose to balance the budget through cuts and withholds to education.  Because politicians failed to act, Missouri students will face steeper tuition and fees for higher education.  K-12 schools, which are already facing budget short falls because politicians did not fully fund the foundation formula, also will now have to cut classroom dollars to transport students to and from school.

Missouri’s day of reckoning will come when the General Assembly works to pass next year’s budget.  This year’s budget used $155 million from last year to spend in this year and will not be available next year.  And based on recent history, Senate Appropriations expects mandatory expenses to increase approximately $200 million for the next year’s budget.  These factors combine to create a forecasted budget gap next year of approximately $755 million.

Liberals in the state and even some Republicans believe we have a “revenue crisis” and as Representative Mary Still (D-Columbia) laid out in a recent op-ed in the Columbia Tribune, their solution is to raise cigarette, internet sales, business, and personal taxes.  Calling for tax increases is wrong.  The problem is not that Missouri’s politicians do not have enough of your money to spend; the problem is they have lacked the courage to prioritize where to use your limited resources and cut spending in other areas, like curbing the redistribution of wealth through state authorized tax credits.

Over the next few weeks I will share with you how we got to this point and then present the opportunities leaders in Jefferson City have to reform government so that it lives within its means.  We shouldn’t and don’t have to raise taxes; we shouldn’t and don’t have to go into debt and bond; and we shouldn’t and don’t have to tap the state’s rainy day fund.  Now is the time for true leaders to take a long look at where we are, where we are headed, and what must be done to ensure that your tax dollars are used effectively and efficiently.  If politicians are serious about putting education first, this series will lay out what we still need to do to protect our children’s future.

Missouri, 49 other states, and the Federal Government must stop budgeting based on these pie-in-the-sky growth assumptions. A budget built on conservative estimates will breed greater citizen satisfaction and reduce the number of times our Representatives must anger their constituents when cutting back to revenue reality.

Senator Jason Crowell represents the 27th District of Missouri covering all (or portions) of Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Madison, Mississippi, Perry and Scott counties.

h/t senate.mo.gov

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2011 in Balanced Budget, Conservative, Taxes

 

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The Truth About The 2000-2001 Balanced Budget

A few months ago, I investigated and wrote about the fallacy of the 2000-2001 balanced budget.  As I continue to hear how wonderful the Democrat Bill Clinton was for balancing the budget (with a Republican Congress) AND how wonderful the Democrats are now just by being politically related to Mr. Clinton, I must put this back out there to remind folks of the truth!

The details on the fallacy of the 2000-2001 Balanced Budget are here.

Posted originally on the site owned by the wonderful Michelle Moore

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2010 in Democrat, Republican

 

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