Let’s Talk “Budgets”
Why and how does the government make a budget? It is the constitutionally assigned responsibility of the legislature in the government to make a budget. Washington D.C. makes an annual Federal Budget. Concord NH makes a biennial State Budget.
First the leader (President/Governor) presents a proposed budget. That is like a Christmas wish list – what he’d like. Then the two legislative branches (Senate and House/General Court) create their proposed budgets. Once they have each voted on and passed their individual proposed budgets, the two branches get together and negotiate a compromise budget. That compromise budget then gets voted on by both branches and, if passed, becomes "the budget". If the President/Governor is very unhappy with the budget, he can veto it, but the legislature can override his veto.
Please notice two things: 1. There are several “proposed budgets”
but only one actual “budget”. 2. The leader only asks for a budget. He has no power to appropriate any funds to be spent. He does NOT make the budget. In other words, the legislators in the two legislative branches are the people
who make the budget and control the purse strings.
The Republican dominated General Court has passed a proposed budget that is realistic in expected revenues, will balance the budget on time and not run a deficit over the next two years. Many cuts had to be made to accomplish this very difficult task. The cuts are painful, some are very painful. Frankly, I admire the integrity and courage shown by the Representatives in facing the problem head-on and doing the unpleasant job of trying to fix the disaster they inherited from the previous legislature. Now the Senate has to propose and pass their budget so that the process can continue. I hope they will also take their responsibility seriously!
In Washington, the situation is even worse. The previous legislature, controlled by Democrats, failed to do their constitutional job. They made no budget at all! They funded the functioning of the government by passing “continuing resolutions” (CR). (Continuing resolutions permitted them to not deal with the deficit in an election year – a wise but unethical move by the Democrat Party.) Unfortunately, the only spending cuts that can be made in CRs are in “discretionary spending” – a small portion of the whole budget. Now the Congress needs to fund the government for the rest of this fiscal year, 2011, and make a budget for the coming fiscal year, 2012.
The last CR passed expired at midnight on
April 8. The Republican led House had passed a proposed new CR which cuts $61 billion of discretionary spending. The Democrat led Senate has neither produced nor passed a proposed CR and states that $61 billion is too much to cut in spending. (Never mind that $61 billion is not even one day’s worth of deficit spending!) No compromise CR can be worked out and passed until the Senate does its job of passing a proposed CR. No compromise CR being passed means that after April
8 the Federal government technically has no money to function, this forces a government shutdown. In actuality the government doesn’t “shut down”, it slows down. All “essential services” of government continue. The President has a large amount of control about what is or isn't deemed "essential".
Top of this page
Contact: ken.s+sunacom.com (replace "+" with "@")