Friday, November 21, 2008

Projected budget shortfall

A new projected budget shortfall was released today by the state Consensus Forecasting Group. The new number is $456 million.

First, if we are in a crisis, why is the Governor giving political cronies a $20,000 raise?

Second, anyone can identify a problem. That is not hard. I would like to help the Governor with a solution:

  • Suspend the prevailing wage law for this budget cycle. We would be better off if it was repealed in its entirety. However, maybe it would be more politically palatable by suspending it through June 2010. Estimated savings- $150 million.

  • Suspend the water and sewer projects put into the budget at the last minute. Now, this is also going to be hard to do. Heck, I don't want to give up the $1 million in water lines that I got for Campbell County residents. If these projects are suspended, they should sit at the top of the list if the budget turns around, or for the next budget cycle. Off the top of my head, I think those projects were for $250 million, so that is the estimated savings.

  • Allow grocery stores to sell wine. First year revenue, $20 million, and $10 million every year after that.

So, I have just come of with the first $420 million of the $456 million projected shortfall. This would tide us over for a least another 10-12 months, where we can then see if the projected deficit gets better or worse. In another year we will be in the beginning of a new budget session, where we can clean up anything else.