PROJECTS OVER PEOPLE - May 27, 2016
On the campaign trail this year, you might hear from Democrat candidates that the Republicans in the House sacrificed “people” in favor of “projects.” That Republicans voted for “construction projects” at the expense of “people programs.”
On Senate File 41 – a bill providing appropriations for state funded capital construction – the Democrat caucus agreed with us Conservatives to support amendments to scale back or eliminate some of the projects in the $400+ million bill. The two caucuses had the votes to significantly trim “projects,” if we held together.
However, on amendment after amendment the Democrats reneged on their promise. Every attempt we made to decrease or eliminate an appropriation for a project, Democrats voted NO, causing all our cost-savings measures to fail.
However, in a bizarre twist, they all voted against the final SF 41. All nine House Democrats plus only 15 of the Republicans (our Conservative group) voted NO. Not enough to defeat the “projects over people” bill.
So, our Democrat colleagues can say they voted against SF 41 – a “projects bill”- but they are being disingenuous.
Democrats had their chance to scale back appropriations for projects and they did not take it. Just three examples:
$7 million for a garage to the state forestry division
$20 million for a new state office building in Casper
$70 million for the projects at the University
It is important to note here that just the $7 million for the garage could have fully funded the property tax relief program for seniors on low, fixed incomes AND the family literacy programs administered by the community colleges.
Let the record reflect the facts: Conservative Republicans tried to block projects over people. Democrats said they would help, and then reneged.