The Budget Game
Saturday, April 08, 2006 :::
This weekend's Sorensen outing took us to Petersburg, where we engaged in a bit of fun called the budget game.
There wasn't enough time to go into the budget as it exists, or to build our own from scratch. And our revenue choices were limited, too.
But there was one line item on the short list that dealt with appropriations to non-government agencies. I took that as a cue to point out this obviously overlooked section of the Virginia constitution:
"Nor shall the General Assembly make any like appropriation to any charitable institution which is not owned or controlled by the Commonwealth; the General Assembly may, however, make appropriations to nonsectarian institutions for the reform of youthful criminals and may also authorize counties, cities, or towns to make such appropriations to any charitable institution or association."
Va. Constitution Va. Con. Art. 4 § 16 (1971)
Needless to say, this was news to the participants, and somewhat of a news item to the game's creators.
I'd say judging from the reaction this idea got the first time I posted it, they aren't the only ones.
The rationalization -- that the legislature has always done this -- rings hollow. But triflings like possible illegality have never stood in an appropriator's way in the past.
How did the game end? Well, it a massive, unwarranted tax hike, of course -- and gobs of new spending, too.
Though to my fellow members of the No Caucus, political reality is on our side...thank God.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 4/08/2006