Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Good news is there's a budget surplus. Bad news is more budget deficits projected down the road.

Last week the state announced that instead of facing a budget deficit for the next biennium it is projected to have a surplus of $874 million. Legislators and other politicos were surprised, thinking we'd face more deficits given the state of the economy. They weren't looking forward to the prospect of another face off with the governor over more budget cuts or tax increases.

What was interesting is they are projecting a budget deficit of $1.3 billion in the 2014-15 biennium. That says to me there is still a structure spending problem which still has to be resolved. To reach a compromise about not raising taxes while not cutting as much as necessary the proverbial can was kicked further down the street without making the tough, structural changes in government spending. That's what happens when one has either a governor or legislature which would rather raise taxes.

One consequence of the surplus is the possibility of an even shorter than usual legislative session. It starts the end of January and usually goes until the constitutional ending day in the middle of May. I think there's actually a good possibility the House and Senate will agree to adjourn early.

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