Legislators say increased budget over last decade was justified

Dec 17, 2012

Credit Irina Zhorov

As the legislature considers cutting budgets next month, some members are taking issue with comments that the state has doubled its budget over the last ten years.  Incoming House Appropriations Chairman Steve Harshman says the state spent money on things ranging from the Hathaway Scholarship to improving neglected infrastructure across the state.  Harshman says some of that spending also went into funds that should help the state in future years.

“Part of the spending also is our savings.  Those things count on the budget as expenses.  We’ve saved, we’ve done a good job.  We doubled the permanent mineral trust fund and now it’s bringing in a quarter of a million dollars a year in revenue forever and that will continue to keep rolling in.”

Incoming Senate President Tony Ross says part of the reason the budget doubled is that the state under spent for the previous ten years.  He says a number of needs had accumulated that the legislature needed to address.