Saturday, November 28, 2009

States Waited Until After Election Day To Deal With Budget Mess

If you want an example of how feckless and irresponsible the so-called fiscal wizard Jon Corzine was, all you need to know is that the state is now going to deal with its budget disaster by contemplating cuts to attempt to balance the budget.

Any reasonable observer could have told you that the state's budget was a disaster despite protestations that Corzine cut the budget this year to reflect the economic woes facing the state.

It was a lie; he and the Democrats used stimulus money to maintain the state budget at the rates from last year, and there was no way that tax revenues would match projections given the recession and declining revenues that were expected.

Corzine couldn't address these cuts before the election because it would have been politically disastrous, but it shows just how the poisonous political environment trumps fiscal responsibility. The need to be reelected trumps doing the right thing.

A similar situation awaits in New York, where Gov. Paterson has been warning of a dire budget deficit that now exceeds $3 billion and the state's emergency reserve fund is pretty much tapped out. And as bad as Paterson says things are, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says that they're even worse. The one thing that the state must do, Democrats will fight every step of the way. They will not cut state spending, even though that is the root of the problem. Tax revenues simply are not supporting this level of spending - and they haven't for years.

In fact, the high taxes in New York chases away the tax base, leaving fewer people around to support the state spending, increaseing the tax burden on those who remain.

Instead of keeping spending at reasonable levels, New York increased this year's budget significantly over last year's budget, creating a huge budget hole that can't easily be plugged because Albany made too many promises to too many people and now have to axe programs all over the place.

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