Incrementally Restoring the Local Government Fund
Companion bills H.3429 and S.473 would slowly restore the funding level of the local government fund (LGF) over three years until it once again received its full legally required funding amount (4.5% of the last fiscal year’s general fund revenues) in fiscal year 2017-2018. This would be achieved by mandating that a third of the difference between the 2014-2015 fiscal year appropriation for the LGF and the legally required appropriation be added each year for the next three fiscal years until the LGF is fully funded in fiscal year 2017-2018. H.3429 would also prohibit the legislature from suspending its provisions except in a piece of legislation written solely for that purpose. This last provision would prevent the legislature from suspending their legal requirement to the LFG through a budget proviso; the historical method by which the legislature has underfunded the LGF.
The LGF should be restored as local governments rely on its funds to finance services to citizens. When the fund is shortchanged local governments must either cut back services or raise local fees or taxes. H.3429 is a well-intentioned attempt to restore the LGF’s funding, it’s only flaw is that it draws out the fund’s replenishment over three years instead of mandating the LGF proper funding be restored immediately.