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CSSB 1 is the General Appropriations Bill for the 2018-19 Biennium. Generally we offer bill analysis and vote recommendations on second reading. However, this bill represents the starting point in the general appropriations process and as such is not near enough its final form for us to take a position on. We will remain neutral on the substance of CSSB 1 as reported by the committee. We will however, offer recommendations on select pre-filed floor amendments based on whether or not those amendments in our view advance or detract from the general principles of limited government.
The budget is a lengthy and complex document and process that changes frequently. As such, this legislation is not near enough in its final form to weigh in substantively on whether the bill should or should not pass and we will likely withhold our vote recommendation until after the conference committee produces a final bill.
That being said, we are encouraged by the Senate's attempt to reign in government spending. Though we believe there is still room for improvement and the ideal budget is one of a net decrease in government spending, the Senate has made a concerted effort to live within its means. One of the things that does concern us is the continued use of budget gimmicks in order to balance and certify the budget. This includes practices such as using dedicated funds for purposes other than that which they were created for, the heavy reliance upon fees, and deferring of tax payments or collections.
We will continue to closely monitor the budget as it changes and moves through the process. For these reasons, we currently remain neutral on the General Appropriations Act.