Officials Chase Rumors of State's Pot of Gold

Article excerpt

There has been no secret meeting of the State Equalization Board certifying another half-billion dollars in revenue growth for lawmakers to spend, as much as agencies and programs dependent on state revenues might wish it to be so.

Rumors of the extra gazillion or so in money started circulating Wednesday at the State Capitol. They culminated in a good-natured vow from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sandy Garrett to Rep. Jack Begley, D-Goodwell, House education budget chair, that not only had there been no such meeting, but that she, as an elected official and member of the equalization board, would take no part in such a clandestine gathering.

It is not unusual for revenue rumors to begin making their way around the Capitol rotunda at about this point in the legislative session. The drafting of final budgets is the main focus of lawmakers and agency heads every May. The size of the purported pot of gold this time around was a bit out of the ordinary.

Shawn Ashley, public information officer for the Office of State Finance, said he first heard the rumor Wednesday morning. …