Wimmer Invites Public to Help Craft Spending Limits Bill

The Utah Republican Party today sent an email from Representative Carl Wimmer (R-Herriman), in which Wimmer invites the public to help him craft a bill for the 2012 legislative session. The bill would create a state constitutional amendment to limit government spending.  See the full email below:

“A Message from State Representative Carl Wimmer

Dear Fellow Republican,

***This is your chance to be involved FIRST HAND in the law making process***

Polling numbers show that the top issue for most voters from both sides of the isle is the economy.  Earlier this year I informed you of a piece of legislation that I am working on in conjunction with The Sutherland Institute, which would create a state constitutional amendment to limit government spending.  HJR-37 (Joint resolution on state spending limitations) was drafted and worked on intensely this past legislative session. Unfortunately, we did not have adequate time to pass the bill before session came to an end. I am writing today to inform you that I have once again opened this legislation and will be working on it over the summer; I am asking for your help moving forward on this constitutional amendment.

Below you will find a press release highlighting the provisions of the bill.  I would like your initial feedback on the idea.  In the coming months as The Sutherland Institute and I progress on the bill, I will send updates through the state party to solicit input and feedback from you.  This is literally YOUR chance to help create and craft a piece of legislation.  A face book page and a website will be created to allow for instant feedback and dialog with you the citizen. This type of citizen ownership of a bill has rarely been offered and I hope you take full advantage of the opportunity.

Feedback can be sent directly to me at wimmer52@gmail.com

Press release:

­HJR-37 CALLS FOR SPENDING LIMIT AMENDMENT TO UTAH CONSTITUTION SALT LAKE CITY (May, 11th, 2011)-Representative Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, released a joint resolution today that would require the Legislature to limit state spending to the amount the state expended during the preceding fiscal year with an increase allowed only for inflation plus the percentage growth of the state population. Wimmer worked with Sutherland Institute to craft the legislation that encourages enhanced fiscal responsibility and limited government.

“HJR 37 will prudently save taxpayer dollars during economic plenty so that the state will be prepared for economic famine and for natural emergencies; it is really about fiscal responsibility and maintaining Utah’s place as the best-managed state in the nation,” said Derek Monson, Sutherland Institute, Manager of Public Policy. “Human nature tempts everyone – both legislators and non-legislators – to spend every dollar available.  HJR-37 is the responsible and wise thing to do.  Political pressures on legislators only magnify the appeal of excessive spending over saving.”

Other highlights of HJR 37 include:

· A requirement to send surplus state revenue to the “rainy-day” fund and emergency preparedness and disaster relief accounts.

· A requirement to refund any remaining surplus to taxpayers.

· A provision allowing the Legislature to exceed the spending limit with a two-thirds vote and the governor’s approval.

· A stipulation that if the state transfers responsibility for a program or service to a political subdivision (e.g., county, city), the state spending limit will be reduced by the amount the political subdivision must spend to maintain stable funding for the program.

HJR 37’s unique approach to spending limits sets a high bar for the Legislature to meet, yet allows complete latitude in allocating funds. The joint resolution sets a roadmap for Utah’s future that promotes wise financial stewardship in a way that reasonably allows legislators to do the job citizens elect them to do, and it helps the state avoid painful cuts to programs and services in the down times.

I look forward to working with many of you as we craft this legislation and create a brighter financial future for Utah.

Rep. Carl Wimmer
Salt Lake County

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