Washington Beyond the Headlines: Feds Shouldn’t Cover State Budget Shortfalls
By Andy Blom, TES Washington Editor
They say bad things come in threes. Well, we’ve had a pandemic, a wave of protests and riots, so what else does 2020 have in store for us? But no matter the obstacles, free market policy people keep right on working, offering perspective and policy options to lead us though these ‘interesting’ times. Read on …
- Hey States! Roll Up Your Sleeves, Quit Counting on the Feds! The pandemic lockdown has hit everybody hard, including state budgets. Now, amidst talk of another trillion dollar Fed bailout, The Heritage Foundation is calling on states to address their own budget shortfalls and not depend on Fed money (which is your money, by the way). Best of all, they have a plan. It starts with two important principles: we must stop ballooning the Federal deficit, and we should not be responsible for poor state budget management prior to COVID-19. Makes sense.
- Preserve Our National Parks… Without the Debt! Our treasured National Parks are in urgent need of repair…a projected $12 Billion worth of repair. That’s against a yearly park budget of only $4.1 Billion. Legislation, The Great American Outdoors Act, proposes a one time fix that just adds to the already worrisome national debt. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) has a different idea, one that puts some of the burden on foreign visitors and looks to long term, dedicated funding. Worth discussing over the campfire.
- Great American Outdoors Act Part II: Stop the Land Grab. Part of the legislation discussed above deals with how best to fix our National Parks. Unfortunately, the second part includes a major shift, turning the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) into a true trust fund not subject to congressional appropriation and mandate and providing $900 million to be spent annually in perpetuity on land acquisition by the federal land agencies and on land acquisition and development of recreational facilities by state and local government. More Government owned land is not a great idea, for a lot of reasons. A coalition has written to the U.S. Senate detailing those reasons and asking for amendments to the bill. Read their plea for action here.
- Our Growing Independence… Interesting Facts about the Labor Market. Even as California tries to pass legislation forcing unionization and restrictions upon freelancers and gig workers, Independent Contractors are becoming a growing force in the U.S. Labor Market. A new study published by the IRS (of all places!) shows that low end Independent Contractor work, and female IC’s are leading the way. It seems people still crave independence. Check out the trends here.
- Light at the End of the Tunnel Department: The Way Forward. The coronavirus pandemic will end eventually. Okay, it will at least attenuate. Or something. Whatever way it goes, America has to come back. It’s in our very nature. The Mercatus Center is leading the way with policy proposals (Economic and Fiscal, Regulatory, Health and Monetary) to jump start the country. Now. Get on board here.
- Got a Minute? Got 47? Watch This…The Hoover Institution offers an intensive discussion on economic statecraft with Keith Krach and H R McMaster. It may not be Mission Impossible 9 or James Bond, but it’s heady stuff, worth a look.
- COVID-19 is Killing Our Schools, and Minority Students will Suffer. As of early June, 52 private schools have closed permanently, primarily as a result of coronavirus. Of those, 43 are Catholic schools, schools that serve black and hispanic populations at over twice the rate of other private schools. In fact, Catholic schools are often the only alternative for minority populations dissatisfied with government schools. But that’s not all. Sarah Sparks writes in Education Week that this will place additional strain on public schools already lacking resources — another unseen outcome of the pandemic.
- Your Neighbor’s Rooftop Solar Costs You Money! Who’d a thunk it? That fancy rooftop solar panel your neighbor brags about sure does save him a bundle…and he makes money selling excess energy back to the power company, too! Cool, right? No! Because the power company has to buy back his excess energy at retail rates (higher than the energy they are selling you) and they pass the cost on to you. Further, you have to pay for the fancy equipment that transfers his energy back and forth. He’s saving, allright. On your dime (or dollar). NERA, the New England Ratepayers Association has petitioned the FEC to end all of this. The Heartland Institute has the story here.
- We’ll Be Right back after this Commercial Break…Americans for Prosperity wants you to know not everything that has come out of COVID-19 is all bad. And some of that good should be preserved. They’ll tell you what in a brief 60 seconds here. Or you can read about it here.
Events: Are they going to set us free? Will we actually go see each other in person? Will meetings resume? Depends on your state, I guess. And on the dreaded ‘Second Wave’. Still, most events and meetings are continuing on line. Check to see if your event is live, online, or cancelled.
- HERITAGE FOUNDATION offers a selection of Virtual Programming on a variety of topics, always with interesting and highly credible presenters. Check here for a complete listing
- ACTON UNIVERSITY. Four Day Conference. June 16 – 20, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Apply at university.acton.org.
- LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF FUNDRAISING, Mon. – Fri, July 20-24, Munich Germany. Info at LeadershipInstitute.org/ISF.
Andresen Blom is a Washington based policy and political analyst and author who has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Hill, and Politico.