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Send this Issue: Living large is no longer an option to a friend.

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1/18/2008
Living large is no longer an option

The title comes from the headline of a January 16 Seattle Times article detailing Washington state’s Governor Christine Gregoire’s State of the State Address. According to the Times article, the speech was a “marked turnaround from a year ago” when the Washington State governor “advocated a $4B increase in state spending.” [Emphasis is mine.]

This year, worries about the economy – and the 2008 election, critics say – have the governor saying it’s time to hunker down….. [Gregoire] “For too long, state government has spent in the good times, and then made painful cuts when our economy has slowed. We are getting off that roller coaster.”

And then of course, Arnold and California are in the news daily. Bad financial woes. Deep, across-the-board spending cuts. There’s no disputing it – The belle of the west coast is in deep budget trouble once again. (Well, still…)

Stateline.org summarized much of this mess in an article Wednesday (included in FoxPolitics News) sharing that

Many states are greeting 2008 with a major budget hangover and are looking for relief from falling home sales, higher energy prices and reduced sales-tax collections after two years of overflowing coffers.

Red ink was showing up in as many as 20 state ledgers as the year began, and if the country dips into a recession, the number of states projecting deficits would certainly grow. "Clearly, it’s a little more gloomy than it was once was,"

Geez. Most states got well out of the red in past years – Wisconsin was one of only 2 or 3 that didn’t conquer their deficits. Now the rest of the nation joins us in negative territory, as we’re on the precipice of swooping still further into red ink territory.

The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance confirms Wisconsin’s worsening fiscal position, sharing in early January what escaped most of the rest of us: a general fund deficit for Wisconsin’s fiscal 2007 of $2.44 billion. That is huge. WISTAX President Todd Berry explains well why the governor and the legislature can claim they’ve created a balanced budget – and at the same time, the audited financials for the state show a $multi-billion gap.

The governor has no room to fool around in this year’s State of the State address. He and the legislature have got to get down to some very serious spending cuts.

The horse is out of the barn Governor Doyle. You won’t look like the pert and smiling Christine Gregoire, but you absolutely must sound like her. Please get serious about cutting spending in our state; it’s time you talked straight to the residents of your state. This Wednesday’s upcoming State of the State is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Update: Important news from the Wisconsin State Journal. Very very bad news. Not to be an "I told you so," but, I told you so.

An October raid on a state fund for injured patients has forced its managers to hit up Peter to pay Paul, borrowing tens of millions of dollars in cash — and paying interest — to meet its obligations, a state memo shows.

The cash shortfall in the fund came in spite of assurances from Gov. Jim Doyle and leading lawmakers of both parties that the medical malpractice fund would readily absorb the $200 million in transfers — a crucial part of the state budget compromise reached in October.






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