Connecticut Wrangles over Spending Controls amid $1 Billion Surplus

Connecticut Capitol

Connecticut will end the fiscal year with a record surplus, according to a new report, which is fueling calls by progressive Democrats to roll back the state’s spending controls.

The consensus revenue forecast, released by the Office of Policy and Management and Office of Fiscal Analysis on Monday, shows the state is likely to close out the fiscal year more than $645 million above initial budget projections. That’s a roughly $1 billion surplus through 2026, according to the report.

Read the full story

Georgia Lawmakers Approve Budget as Session Ends

Georgia Money

Georgia lawmakers signed off on the fiscal year 2025 budget in the final hours of this year’s legislative session but did not pass a bill to allow sports betting.

Lawmakers gave the nod to a more than $66.8 billion state budget for fiscal 2025, which starts July 1. The spending plan, which anticipates $36.1 billion in state money and $19 billion in federal taxpayer funds, includes pay raises for public school teachers and state law enforcement officers.

Read the full story

Commentary: Unemployment Up Another 760,000 Since December 2022 as Unemployment Rate Jumps to 3.9 Percent

Don’t look now, but U.S. labor markets appear to be churning in the wrong direction, as the unemployment rate jumped to 3.9 percent in February, and the unemployment level hit a new high for this cycle at almost 6.5 million, up 760,000 from its low this cycle of 5.7 million in Dec. 2022, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Read the full story

DeSantis Calls for Constitutional Reforms to Address Spending, Border

DeSantis Speaking

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday that he is calling for constitutional reforms to hold leadership in Washington D.C. accountable for the crisis Americans face due to weak border policies and unchecked spending.

The second-term GOP governor and former presidential candidate is calling for a balanced federal budget, congressional term limits, laws being made equally applicable for citizens and members of Congress and line-item veto authority for the president.

Read the full story

Analysis Ties Surge in Inflation to Increased Spending, Value of Debt

The U.S. government and those of other countries could be using higher inflation to lessen the value of growing public debt resulting from increased spending during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new analysis by a Harvard economist working with The Heritage Foundation. 

The study covers government spending from 2020 through 2022, the high point of the pandemic, and looked at the U.S. and 20 other economies in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD. 

Read the full story

Commentary: Oh Great, Another ‘Debt Commission’

Recognizing the precarious plight of the nation’s fiscal situation, newly installed House Speaker Mike Johnson has called for a bi-partisan commission to study the nation’s debt. Everyone involved in federal fiscal policy for a length of time surely responded with some variation on, “Good grief, Charlie Brown.” Congress has formed and ignored innumerable such groups over many decades.

Read the full story

U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty Blasts Continuing Resolution for Failure to Include ‘Serious Border-Security Measures’

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) blasted the passage of the 45 day Continuing Resolution that included no spending cuts and failed to properly increase funding for U.S. border security.

The bill passed the House on Saturday in a 335 to 91 vote, then passed the Senate in an 88 to 9 vote, and was signed into law by President Biden just hours before the midnight deadline on Saturday, when funding for the 2022-2023 federal fiscal year. The bill continues funding the government at 2022-2023 levels until November 15.

Read the full story

Tennessee U.S. Reps. Burchett, DesJarlais, Green, Harshbarger, Ogles, and Rose Vote No on McCarthy’s Fiscally Reckless Continuing Resolution, Hagerty and Blackburn Vote No in Senate

Six of Tennessee’s nine member delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives voted “no” on Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s last-minute 45 day Continuing Resolution Saturday afternoon. Late Saturday, the U.S. Senate passed the bill in an 88 to 9 vote, just a few hours before the midnight deadline when the current fiscal year ends.

Read the full story

Commentary: The New Right Cares About More than Taxes

New research is challenging assumptions about the Republican Party’s core values, showing the GOP of the 2020s is an entirely different animal from the GOP of the 2010s. The research captures an increasing shift toward populism and America First priorities that has been growing since Former President Trump’s election in 2016.

The study by American Compass divides Republicans into two camps, the Old Right and the New Right, based on their economic priorities and approach to cultural issues.

Read the full story

Haley Lays Out Economic ‘Freedom Plan,’ Packed with Promises of Tax Cuts, Entitlement Reform and Regulatory Relief

Declaring that it’s time for Washington to start working for Americans and not the other way around, GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley laid out her economic “Freedom Plan in a speech Friday in New Hampshire.

The former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador is proposing a litany of middle-class tax cuts, regulatory relief and “third rail” entitlement reforms in a proposal she asserts will check communist China aggression through American prosperity.

Read the full story

Commentary: House Freedom Caucus Wants To Do Something About Out of Control Spending

On Monday, the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) struck a blow in the fight for fiscal displume. In a 431-word statement, the conservative House Republicans put Official Washington on notice that when Congress returned in September and took up the seemingly annual short-term spending bill known as a “Continuing Resolution,” the HFC would not vote to fund business as usual. Instead, HFC members would only support a short-term spending bill to keep the government open if it also included several of their key policy priorities – policy priorities that would represent significant shifts in key areas of government policy.

Read the full story

House Conservatives Say Any Spending Bill Must Address Border Security, DOJ Weaponization

The House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative lawmakers in the House, outlined Monday what conditions would need to be met for them to vote for a new spending bill.

The group is calling for spending bills to include provisions on border security, the “unprecedented weaponization” of the Justice Department and FBI, and the Pentagon’s “cancerous woke polices.” The lawmakers also oppose “any blank check for Ukraine in any supplemental appropriations bill.”

Read the full story

Commentary: Could the Baby Boomer Retirement Wave and Labor Shortages Absorb the Recession?

The national unemployment rate dipped to 3.5 percent in July, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, once again hitting more than 50-year lows.

It’s still peak employment as far as the eye can see. Even with the past two years’ high inflation dropping dramatically and disinflation usually correlating with higher unemployment and a recession, that simply has not occurred yet, despite all the warning signs typically associated with an economic slowdown or downturn.

Read the full story

Commentary: The Educational Establishment’s Radical New Ploys

Increased spending, common good bargaining, community schools and transitional kindergarten will not improve student learning.

A Gallup poll released earlier this month shows that just 28% of Americans have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in K-12 public schools. The number for Republicans is particularly damning: Just 14% of GOPers view education in a positive light.

Read the full story

Haley Hits Trump and DeSantis over Their Support of ‘Reckless’ Debt Ceiling Deal in 2018

As congress weighs another “deal” to raise the national debt limit, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is blasting the two leading contestants for the GOP nomination for their support of a “reckless” debt ceiling agreement in 2018. 

The former South Carolina governor points out that Governor Ron DeSantis was a member of congress who voted for a 2018 bill to increase the nation’s debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion.

Read the full story

DeSantis Blasts McCarthy Over Budget Deal for ‘Careening Towards Bankruptcy’

by Harold Hutchison   Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida ripped House Speaker Kevin McCarthy early Monday over the debt ceiling deal, calling it “totally inadequate” when it came to addressing spending. “Prior to this deal, Kayleigh, our country was careening toward bankruptcy and after this deal, our country will still be careening toward bankruptcy,” DeSantis said to “Fox and Friends” guest host Kayleigh McEnany. “To say you can do $4 trillion of increases in the next year and a half, I mean, that is massive amount of spending,” DeSantis continued. “I think that we’ve gotten ourselves on a trajectory, really since March of 2020 with some of the COVID spending and totally reset the budget and they are sticking with that and I think that is totally inadequate to get us in a better spot.” McCarthy released the text of the Fiscal Responsibility Act on Sunday evening, which increases the debt ceiling through Jan. 1, 2025, taking it past the 2024 presidential election. The House is expected to vote on the legislation on Wednesday, following a 72-hour period for members to read the bill, a provision of the rules changes proposed by the Freedom Caucus and agreed to by McCarthy prior to his election as speaker.…

Read the full story

Commentary: Any Debt ‘Default’ Will Be Biden’s Choice

There’s enough revenue to pay interest on the debt even if the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling is reached.

Meaning, if the U.S. defaults on the debt on June 1, it will be because President Joe Biden chose not to make principal and interest payments on U.S. Treasuries out of existing revenue, for which there is more than ample revenues to service and refinance up to the current debt ceiling limit, $31.4 trillion.

Read the full story

Report: Wisconsin Tax Collections Projections Come in Lower Than Expected

Wisconsin state tax collections over the next three years are projected to come in more than three-quarters of a billion dollars lower than expected, according to a new report from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. 

Republican lawmakers say the revised projections further underscore their efforts to remake a more fiscally responsible biennial budget out of Democrat Governor Tony Evers’ big-spending proposal. 

Read the full story

Commentary: The ‘Limit, Save, Grow’ Plan’s Discretionary Spending Caps that Save More than $3 Trillion Might Not Be Enough

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and the House Republican majority have unveiled their spending plan for the next decade, the Limit, Save, Grow Act, that will be tied to a $1.5 trillion increase in the $31.4 trillion national debt ceiling, the centerpiece of which imposes discretionary budget caps beginning in 2024, but which will be set at 2022 levels, which could save more than $3.2 trillion over the next decade, according to an estimate by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

While an official score still has not come in from the Congressional Budget Office, the proposal stands out as a promise kept on McCarthy’s part to use the must-pass debt ceiling to restore some semblance of fiscal sanity to the out-of-control federal budget and national debt, the latter of which the White House Office of Management and Budget projects will rise to a gargantuan $50.7 trillion by 2033.

Read the full story

Americans for Prosperity Warns Wisconsin Lawmakers Against Spending Too Much

There was one group at Wisconsin’s budget hearing pushing for less. Americans for Prosperity warned Wisconsin lawmakers about spending too much of the state’s record $7.1 billion surplus.

Americans For Prosperity Wisconsin this week waited through hours of requests for more money at the legislature’s public budget hearings to make the simple case to spend less.

Read the full story

Commentary: The Interest Alone on the National Debt Will Hit $1 Trillion in 2024 as Reserve Currency Status Is Questioned

Gross interest owed on the $31.4 trillion national debt — that is, interest owed on both the $24.9 trillion publicly traded debt and the $6.7 trillion debt in the Social Security, Medicare and other trust funds — will reach a gargantuan $1 trillion in 2024 for the first time in American history, according to the latest data gathered by the White House Office of Management and budget.

To put that into perspective, that is more than is spent on national defense related spending, currently $814 billion.

Read the full story

Commentary: Governor Shapiro’s First Budget Falls Short

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s first state budget proposal perpetuates unsustainable spending and fails to address the most promising ideas he put forward during his campaign. For starters, his budget calls for $45.9 billion in ongoing General Fund spending – but the state has only $43 billion in net revenues, so the governor is positioning us for a nearly $3 billion annual deficit.

Spending that exceeds revenue is unsustainable and fiscally irresponsible for individuals, businesses, and certainly for government.

Read the full story

Commentary: Despite ‘Strong’ Rhetoric, Biden Administration Signals Gloomy Economic Outlook

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the now-released President’s Budget is projecting just 0.6 percent in inflation-adjusted real growth of the U.S. economy in 2023 as the unemployment rate is expected to rise to 4.3 percent in 2023 and peak at 4.6 percent in 2024 after the economy is finished overheating from the continued, elevated inflation, consumers max out on credit and spending falls off a cliff.

Read the full story

Virginia General Assembly Adjourns after Passing ‘Stopgap’ Budget, No Final Deal

The politically-divided Virginia General Assembly agreed on a “stopgap” budget bill before lawmakers adjourned the legislative session Saturday, with lawmakers indicating work remains to reach a final deal on amendments to the state’s two-year state spending plan. 

Without an agreement reached on key aspects of proposed amendments to the state’s budget – including $1 billion in tax cuts proposed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin – the legislature agreed to pass what House Appropriations Committee Chair Del. Barry Knight described as a “stopgap” budget with just a few items. 

Read the full story

U.S. Projected to Tack on $19 Trillion in Debt over Next Decade as Spending Soars

The U.S. is likely to add $19 trillion more to the national debt in the next 10 years, which is $3 trillion higher than previously expected, new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predictions show.

By the end of 2023, the CBO projects the deficit to be $1.4 trillion, and it will continue to average about $2 trillion annually, raising the debt to about $52 trillion. The CBO report indicates that the rise in the deficit is a result of bipartisan legislation coupled with the Federal Reserve’s hike in interest rates.

Read the full story

Commentary: Spending Limits in Iowa Can Provide Property Tax Relief

Property taxes are a concern for taxpayers across the nation. Iowans, just as with many other states, are confronted with skyrocketing property taxes. The reason for high property taxes is local government spending. Spending drives taxes. This is the main reason why past property tax reforms in Iowa have failed to provide relief.

Montana state Rep. Caleb Hinkle understands that spending is driving higher property tax bills. To remedy this solution, he has introduced a local government spending limitation that will help slow the growth of local government spending and provide much-needed property tax relief.

Read the full story