Free Market Friday: The veiled budget
By: Jonathan Small

To hear some at the state Capitol talk, every agency is on starvation rations due to the state budget shortfall. The executive branch made presentations offering a doom-and-gloom picture of government agencies implying that if funding remains flat for the largest seven agencies then the other 60 agencies would be eliminated.

But, despite this sky-is-falling rhetoric, many agencies are actually spending more than they were in recent years while others have seen only minimal financial impact from the budget downturn.

How is this possible? The appropriated budget passed each year by the Legislature is only a portion – in some cases, a small slice – of the total amount of dollars available to many agencies. Many agencies receive much of their funding through other means, whether that is direct tax dollars, fees, or federal tax dollars.

The Space Industry Development Authority has seen its state appropriation trimmed by more than 40 percent since 2009, but it spent almost $3.5 million this year, more than double what it spent as recently as 2014. Why? It leases out buildings and land and collects revenue.

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