Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he doesn’t plan to continue the practice of splitting up state surplus, if any, for pork barrel legislative spending, commonly referred to as GIF spending, for the general improvement fund from which surplus has been doled out.
In recent days, legislators have filed dozens of appropriation bills for GIF spending, covering everything from county fairs to the Little Rock Zoo.
Do legislators know something different than what’s been said by the governor?
The governor’s office says no. I got this response to a question from spokesman J.R. Davis:
The Governor has proposed a balanced budget that uses the current surplus for ongoing state programs and statewide priorities. While we’re slightly ahead of revenue forecasts, we think it’s important to budget in a prudent, conservative manner.
As you know, GIF bills provide spending authority but not funding. It’s typical for many GIF bills to be filed for a variety of projects. It’s a normal part of the legislative process.
So far then, no means no. A legislator who’s filed GIF bills told me he did so with little expectation they’d be funded, but in the interest of constituents should circumstances change.