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Council Corner: Highlights of the budget

In my previous column, I gave a brief overview of the budget process. Today, I will focus on a few highlights in the Fiscal Year (FY) 16 budget proposal to be presented by staff.
As I mentioned in the last column, this budget proposal should ideally reflect the initial council budget guidance discussed early in the budget process, as well as staff input regarding their operational needs.
It’s no surprise to anyone living in Los Alamos that spending has been down at Los Alamos National Laboratory — our biggest employer — for several years. LANL drives most of our revenue, contributing directly and indirectly to 97 percent of the local economy.
While we are working hard on new economic development initiatives, such as the new tourism attraction opportunity that will be created by the opening of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, the reality of our present-day situation is that LANL-reduced spending impacts our local economy.
Over the past five fiscal years, our gross receipts tax (GRT) collections have fallen by 29 percent, with the greatest impact to funds that rely on that revenue source — primarily the General Fund, the fund that runs most of the usual governmental functions.

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