The news service Capitolwire (subscription) has new information about the debate on WAMs in the budget, including a secret memo – disclaimed by all sides – explaining which WAMs are in and out of the budget.
Yesterday, House Democrats claimed the latest Senate budget plan contains $12 million in WAMs. The Democrats are calling for a removal of these WAMS from a $27.9 billion budget. Senate Republicans fired back denying these items are WAMs, and added that the House Democrats plan to cut these line items not to reduce overall spending, but to increase the House operating budget by $11 million.
The memo, identifies various programs which are discretionary, or already set-aside for specific entities, in Education, Public Welfare, DCED, and the Executive Offices. The mysterious author was also kind enough to describe what vague items like “Facilities and Service Enhancements” actually fund – in this case half a million for the Philhaven Autism Center. Instead of passing around secret memo’s this spending information should be available to every taxpayer through an on-line database of state spending.
Of course, there are multiple other programs in the state budget which are discretionary programs, and used to give handouts to politically chosen companies or groups. We identified several hundred million dollars worth of DCED corporate welfare programs which remain, and would also note the plan to borrow $325 million for RCAP – largely grants for big pork projects like sports stadiums.