BIPPS on Kentucky's budget crisis
From Jim Waters, a breakdown of Kentucky's newfound budget deficit into its three components...
In what amounted to a less-than-subtle push to get a casino amendment passed, Beshear sternly warned that the state faces “an unprecedented crisis” – a $434-million deficit. Since the Fletcher administration left a $145-million surplus, the immediate deficit stands at $289 million.
In Chicken-Little fashion – less the feathers – Beshear effectively got everyone riled up. But like the bird, he runs the risk of taxpayers quickly turning on him when they discover the sky really isn’t falling and that some spending restraint in Frankfort could solve the deficit problem now and in the future....
So, let’s take a closer look at that $434-million shortfall:
• Some $166 million is a result of state agencies spending more than their budgets allowed.
• An additional $138 million goes to projects approved by the General Assembly, which didn’t bother to figure out where the money would come from to pay for the projects, including a payoff to the Ford Motor Co. to stay in Louisville.
• Only $130 million of the deficit gets attributed to less-than-expected revenue.
Get the picture? If agencies spent within their budgets and politicians stopped using the taxpayers to ensure their re-election through pork-barrel projects, leftover cash from the Fletcher administration could have covered revenue shortages....
Now enter the “Goose with the Golden Egg” – Beshear’s plan to create more revenues by building casinos. But Kentuckians gambling away their money doesn’t provide a viable long-term answer to the state’s money problems....I have a better idea. How about we establish a Taxpayers Anonymous support group to treat those addicted to overspending your tax dollars? The “recovery” process would include a 12-step program to help political spending addicts avoid relapses by respecting taxpayers who know better than Frankfort how to spend their money. Money saved by these addicts after they “take the cure” and re-enter the halls of government would more than pay for the program.