Thursday, May 18, 2017

#TXLEGE: A quick thought on "Supplemental" Budgeting....

"There is desirable treasure,
And oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man squanders it."
Proverbs 21:20

From this morning:
Texas Senate budget writers on Thursday approved a supplemental budget to pay for leftover expenses that aren’t covered in the state's current two-year budget, mostly for health and human services programs.

The Senate Finance Committee unanimously voted to spend about $800 million in state funds — which comes with a matching $1.6 billion from the federal government — to cover a shortfall in Medicaid, the public health insurance program for the poor and disabled. That made up by far the largest chunk of the $2.6 billion supplemental budget approved Thursday.

Another $158 million of combined state and federal funds would pay for “critical needs” at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, mostly to cover the costs of hiring new Child Protective Services caseworkers.
That's far as it goes.  The supplemental bill falls within the parameters that were set before the session.  Our early fears on the supplemental appear to have not materialized.

But, moving forward, we are getting awfully sick of having to do a supplemental every two years.  It's gimmicky nonsense (that has recently been very badly abused), and it only happens because legislators don't want to be criticized for being tight-fisted (which is going to happen anyway).  It might be too late to avoid a supplemental in 2019, but next session it needs to be a priority to write a budget that won't require a supplemental in 2021.

Bottom Line: We need to begin a serious conversation on "supplemental free budgeting" during the interim.

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