“Nothing is off the Table…”
That’s what the Governor said in regards to the budget deliberations that are sure to grow into an impasse and then stretch beyond the start of the fiscal year. But the Governor has said he will resist the spending levels proposed for education and economic development contained in the proposal that emerged from the Senate.
Why leave these two budget areas off of the table? The state’s most recent Comprehensive Financial Report shows that from 2004 through 2008 spending on these two functions (from all governmental fund types) increased 24% for education (from $10.5b to $13.0b) and 29% for economic development (from $1.3b to $1.7b). Those two categories beat the growth in total expenditures (21%, from $44.1b to $53.2b).
They far outpaced the growth in population (0.7% from 2004 to 2007) and personal income (16% from 2004 to 2007). No need to treat them like sacred cows, especially when there is talk now of a broad based tax increase (as alluded to in the Governor’s statement of nothing being off the table). There is a huge mismatch between spending and results in these two spending functions, so they should be examined closely.