State lawmakers know they’ll be challenged in the next few months to finance state programs and services with a minimum of additional pain in the face of this year’s 800-million dollars in budget cuts and spending withholdings.
It’s’s a guessing game at this point. Our elected representatives and senators are starting to write a budget that won’t go into effect until July first. And it will have to detail state financing of schools, healthcare, road-building, law enforcement—-whether a gallon of gas is really a gallon, whether a bug in a trap is one that can kill our trees…..and everything in between and beyond until July of 20-11.
All of this will be done against a backdrop of a bad recession and an uncertain recovery.
Senate Appropriations Committee member Tom Dempsey of St. Charles says lawmaker also have to account for what he says is a ‘generational shift in consumer spending” that reduces tax income. He says many people who have seen an economic bubble built on debt burst will be more careful of their own spending and will stash more of their funds in savings that limit state tax income.
Another complication is that about two-thirds of the state budget is already committed to various specific programs. The Republicans and Democrats have differences about how to spend the rest and indicate there is plenty of room, within the one-third of the budget they can work with, for disagreement.
Listen to Bob Priddy’s story :63 mpg
Listen to the Q&A 4:31