Wednesday, November 19, 2008

State budget woes increasingly serious

Today's MRJ has a piece on the current projections for the state budget deficit for this year and for the next few years.

State lawmakers grappled with reality Tuesday when two state budget agencies presented sobering projections for this fiscal year and the three that follow....

Revenue sources are below what was initially projected, and the state's 2008 surplus is experiencing a decline, budget officials said, noting that the there is a projected deficit in capital gain and non-withheld income tax.

A rising unemployment rate, a slow housing market and a declining stock market also play a role, said Robert L. Genuario, the governor's budget director....

"It could very well get worse," Genuario told a subdued group of lawmakers, adding that the state might have to make difficult decisions several times before the fiscal year comes to a close - much like it did in 2002. (by Amanda Falcone)

A few weeks ago, the Council was being told to not expect any mid-year funding cuts from the state. Regardless, we all knew there was an election and few incumbent politicians will be 100% candid and direct about bad news before an election. So I still suggested an immediate hiring freeze for the town... rather than hiring people today who may get laid off in six months. I also applauded Councilman Ruocco's call for a mid-year budget review and continued calling for spending controls on stuff like the unlimited gasoline for the town's nearly two dozen take home vehicles and a clamp on the overnight travel for conferences and seminars around the country.

And what changes have been instituted?

(insert crickets here)

Tim White

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