Circling the Bowl
It may be that my estimate of the midyear budget review yielding a $150 million deficit was too optimistic. We’re apparently starting with a baseline gap that’s already one-fifth of that:
The state ended its last budget year awash in red ink, according to a newly-released Aug. 29 report by state Controller Marc A. Leonetti.
Made public after The Journal made inquiries today, the report pegs the end-of-year deficit at $33.6 million. Of that amount, $8.2 million is attributed to lower-than-anticipated revenues. Most of the rest is attributed to over-budget spending.
Governor Carcieri’s office overspent its own budget by $184,152; the Department of Human Services overspent its budget by a total of $46.2 million in state and federal funds. Of that, the state portion is $18.6 million.
If the governor’s explanation of unachieved furlough days and a legislative decreases in its contingency fund hold water, I’d say it’s time to stop playing footsie with legislators and unions alike. Sink or swim, he’s going to end up taking the blame for the state’s collapse; that’s partly why the other side is so unyielding.
The executive must take whatever steps are necessary, and if the opposition squeals that they are too harsh, then the governor should point to the poor condition of the tools that he’s been given.