TESTIMONY TO THE SENATE BUDGET AND TAXATION COMMITTEE
SB 628 Task Force to Study the Needs and Expenditures of State Programs
BY: Susan Cochran, President
DATE: February 26, 2014
The LWVMD strongly supports SB 628 to create a commission to evaluate the effectiveness, and adequacy of funding of the state’s social service, education, and health programs and to identify the unmet needs of our citizens and communities. Repeatedly, projected state budget shortfalls have led to shortchanging the needs of people and communities, underfunding programs by limiting eligibility, expanding waiting lists, and cutting funds for direct services and reimbursements to service providers. In order to deal with the on-going structural deficit that was compounded by the recent recession, over the past 6 years many state programs and services have been either level funded or had their funding reduced.
In the next two years, the state’s fiscal situation will probably stabilize and begin to improve. As soon as a budget surplus is projected, there will pressure to reduce taxes - a more politically attractive course than addressing needs that have been unmet during budget shortfalls. Senate Bill 628 provides a vehicle to document for the next state administration and new legislators the needs we have left behind in recent budget balancing. It is an opportunity to focus public attention on the scope and depth of this problem, and provide documentation for those who will try to address these issues instead of cutting taxes in future years.
The LWVMD urges your support of this important bill.