(Nov. 16) Credit one veteran conservative Republican legislator for understanding what real fiscal responsibility means.

Chris Pringle, just elected speaker pro tem of the Alabama House of Representatives, offered a word of warning to fellow lawmakers besotted with large but temporary state government surpluses. Rather than rush into tax cuts or find excuses to spend money, Pringle says the state should bank the windfall. With numerous state legislatures across the country also celebrating surpluses , his words of warning should apply all over the country, not just in Alabama.

Pringle noted that in Alabama (as is also true elsewhere), a major part of the unusual surpluses is money coming through the national American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was a pandemic-relief measure.

“It’s all going away and it’s going to end; there’s no more ARPA money coming down,” he said on Mobile’s FM Talk 106.5 . “This economy is going to crash. You can bank on it. And when it does, our revenue is going to plummet. We could go back to what we were faced with in 2012 when we had no money.”

Pringle also noted that President Joe Biden’s inflationary policies mean that items already in the state budget will end up costing more than projected.

“All of our expenses have gone up,” Pringle said. “The cost of concrete’s going up; the cost of steel is going up; so we start building roads and bridges and all that’s expensive. … All of our costs are going up because of the inflation.”

Yet all across the country, Democratic state legislators especially are eager to spend the largesse, while Republican-dominated legislatures already have embarked on rounds of tax cuts while talking big about more tax cuts to come. This is not smart. Even without huge inflation such as the United States is now experiencing, one-time revenues dry up. …. [The full column is here.]


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