Tuesday, October 17, 2017

WyoFlot: Coming to an Airport Near You


AN ACT relating to aeronautics; establishing the Wyoming 2 commercial air service improvement act; providing 3 legislative findings; creating the Wyoming commercial air 4 service improvement council; prescribing duties; 5 authorizing contracting; creating an account; providing an 6 appropriation; and providing for an effective date.
As we have been anticipating... the Minerals and Economic Development Committee has released a draft version of a bill to create a state government airline in Wyoming. 

The idea that Governor Mead's ENDOW group put forward, that I reported on already in early September, is now officially a legislative proposal. And we are all very surprised.

The bill will be discussed at the Minerals and Economic Development Committee meeting in Casper next Monday and Tuesday. At that meeting, the committee is going to have to answer a lot of questions, especially about how many millions of dollars this is going to cost taxpayers. The bill is cleverly quiet on that part, yet remarkably detailed on every other aspect of this new state airline. For example, instead of explaining the funding of the airline, the draft bill spends quite a bit of time defining the composition of the oversight council for the airline. A couple of examples of the level of detail:

--The "Wyoming commercial air service improvement council" - also known as the WyoFlot Politbureau - shall have 15 members, four of which are non-voting;
--The eleven voting members shall be appointed by the legislature (2) and the governor (9), though of course we can be perfectly safe and sound knowing that none of them will be appointed because they and the governor are friends (or comrades);
--The four non-voting members are: the governor, the director of WYDOT, the executive director of the office of tourism, and the Wyoming Business Council CEO, a composition which obviously secures that commercial air traffic expertise and dispassionate economic analysis will define the work of the Politbureau;
--If the Politbureau members appointed by the governor are good comrades, they will get per-diem compensation for their service (page 7, item h) though there is no provision suggesting they be sent to the Gulag if they displease the governor.

Then there is a paragraph inserted to guarantee democracy. In what is almost a verbatim copy of a provision you could once find in the constitutions of the People's Republics of Eastern Europe, the draft bill states. On page 8, the draft bill says, about the members of the Politbureau:
Not more than seventy-five percent (75%) of council members shall be of the same political party.
We are thrilled to know that should the governor of our great state at some point be of Communist Party affiliation, he will have to give one quarter of the Politbureau seats to members of other parties. After all, how else would we secure the survival of freedom and keep tabs on government powers here in Wyoming?

Of course, no state airline project would be complete without central economic planning. On page 9 the bill develops its own Gosplan:
In coordination with the commission, the department and other state agencies, boards, commissions and councils, the council shall develop four (4) year action plans with performance benchmarks, including policy recommendations and budget requests. Each plan shall ... specify a time period for creating marketing and operating commercial air services within the plan's four (4) year period and a schedule for full implementation of steps necessary to establish and maintain sustainable commercial air service in this state. The council shall submit each action plan to the governor for his approval. After approval by the governor, the council shall, in coordination with the commission, the department and other state agencies, boards, commissions and councils, implement the action plan and provide regular progress reports in meeting targets and shall identify adjustments to be made to the governor and the legislature through the joint minerals, business and economic development interim committee
Did you get that? 

Basically, what this orgy in bureaucracy and political nonsense is trying to say, is that:

a) there shall be central economic planning of "commercial" air service in Wyoming;
b) the agency in charge is supposed to write a four-year plan (why not five years as is standard in Soviet government operations?) to start up WyoFlot;
c) the governor, as the Great Leader of the Republic, shall then approve or disapprove the central plan; and
d) there will be lots and lots of meetings over four years before the first plane even gets to the runway. 

In order to pay for the four-year central planning and lots of meetings, the bill is requesting an initial appropriation of up to $37.5 million. This money is supposed to be deposited into WyoFlot's own account, from which the Politbureau can spend it at an unspecified burn rate. How they are going to fund their operations beyond the initial $37.5 million is not mentioned in the bill. Apparently, that is a question that we plebes should worry about. 

There is a lot more to be said about this. The committee has asked a consultant to confirm that WyoFlot is a great idea. His report will not disappoint you.

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