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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - Circumventing the General Assembly's budgeting intent via the reversion process?

Some quotes from a long Fort Wayne Journal Gazette editorial today:

[I]t’s one thing to suggest cuts during the budget-planning process. It’s quite another when the legislature appropriates money for vital needs and the governor refuses to spend it. That’s known as reversion – putting money budgeted back into the general fund rather than spending it or distributing it as the legislature originally directed.

Pence would argue that this year’s downturn in state revenue necessitates such actions.

We would say, look first at what’s being cut, and what the need is that the legislature was trying to address, then decide whether that need is outweighed by the generally admirable goal of protecting the state’s surplus.

What was the thinking, for instance, behind Indiana’s efforts to withhold funds appropriated to deal with domestic violence? * * *

Indiana also withheld $27.5 million the legislature had appropriated to state universities during the budget year just past, including $820,000 for IPFW. During a meeting last month in Fort Wayne, members of the legislature’s budget committee noted that lawmakers had reached an oral agreement with the universities that they would not increase tuition if funding were increased.

“Whatever we take from them could end up next year as a tuition hike,” Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage remarked.

We can only hope that legislators and the governor conduct an open, honest review of the state’s needs for the next budget and do everything they can to meet those needs. And then, short of true emergencies, the governor should make his administration live by that budget.

A government that doesn’t honor its commitments risks becoming government by sleight-of-hand.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 23, 2014 09:32 AM
Posted to Indiana Government