Thursday, February 03, 2005

More on the report

I think the wording used in the Grading the States 2005 report is a bit clearer than the verbiage presented to voters in 2004-016 RE: Highway and transportation petition (version 4).

Verbiage from report:
A ballot measure in November had the effect of shifting some motorfuel and auto-sales tax revenues out of the general fund to the Department of Transportation. This will be phased in, with a $70 million impact in 2006, but by 2009, the DOT will see $187 million more funding, while the general fund will get that much less.

The effect of this switch will be to enlarge a general fund gap that is already serious: The current year’s budget was funded with about $400 million in oneshot revenues that will not be available next time. Meanwhile, Medicaid continues to be a budget-buster. The legislature has consistently underestimated the annual cost of the program, requiring regular supplementals. This year is no different—spending for Medicaid is expected to exceed plans by around $100 million.

Verbiage from the petition that was presented on the voting ballot:
The constitutional amendment has a zero net fiscal impact. The amendment increases funding for the Department of Transportation to be used for transportation purposes only and limits the use of highway user fee revenues by other state agencies. The indirect fiscal impact on state and local governments, if any, is unknown.

Even though the Net Fiscal Impact may be zero in regards to the State, following the philosophy of State Money is State Money, it would have been good to note what services were funded by the money when it was part of the general revenue, and what happens to those services when the money is moved. Who wouldn't vote for it. In a nutshell it came across as we are going to use the money for what the money is suppose to be used for and there will be no impact. From that, who could say no?

The Springfield News Leader commented on the report today.

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