Budget Beat - March 13, 2015
Senate Passes SCR 13 ~ Calls for a Convention of the States to Pass Balanced Budget Amendment
After debate in the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees, as well as on the Senate floor, the Senate passed Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 13 yesterday on a voice vote. The measure now moves to the House.
If passed, West Virginia would join 26 other states to call for a constitutional convention to propose a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Thirty-four states need to pass such resolutions in order for a convention to be called. Then 38 states would need to ratify the Balanced Budget amendment were it to be passed.
As we stated last week, this unprecedented action would be dangerous to our democracy as there is little understanding as to how such a process would take place and be kept under control, protecting the U.S. Constitution from other amendments.
In addition, while everyone would like to see the nation on more secure financial footing, its budget cannot be run like a household budget. And forcing a balanced budget would be akin to "sequestration on steroids" as one senator put it this week.
Attention Moves to State Budget
With the conclusion of the 2015 Legislative Session, the Senate and House will turn their attention to the most important piece of legislation they will consider, the state budget.
In order to balance his budget, Governor Tomblin needs four bills to be passed. So far just two have made it through the legislative process. For more on the details, here is Sean's blog post.
The governor again made tweaks to his proposed 2016 budget this week via a letter to legislators. His adjustments mean borrowing less than proposed from the state's Rainy Day Fund. Here's more.
Last month, WVCBP released its annual Budget Brief which looks at the governor's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. For an up-close look at what a proposed workers' comp tax cut for the coal industry would mean to the state budget, both in the short and long term, check out Sean's blog post.
Join Livestream of Shale Symposium ~ March 19
Natural resource extraction isn't new-it's been an economic activity in this country for over a century-but what is new is the pace of development associated with that industry. Technological advances have opened up swaths of previously unrecoverable deposits of oil and natural gas. To maintain production levels, new wells are constantly drilled, which can overwhelm the infrastructure and planning capabilities of many small communities where this is occurring. To compound things, the finite amount of these resources means that at some point the resource will be exhausted and the industry will leave the area. When that will occur is anyone's guess as projections and estimates vary wildly.
So what's a community to do? How can it cope with the rapid development? How can the wealth be leveraged for future economic benefits to the community when the industry leaves? This one-day event hopes to provide some answers and strategies. It will give policymakers who are interested in the long-range success of their community a chance to interact with academics who have extensive knowledge of the industry's impacts and to connect with colleagues facing similar issues.
The agenda features national and regional experts on three panels who will examine the issue across the timeline of natural resource development:
* Early shale development
* Growth-to-boom phase
* Declining development to bust phase - WVCBP's Ted Boettner will participate in this panel discussion.
To listen in to the conversation, please join the livestream by registering here.