Friday, January 12, 2007

Man that $15 billion surplus vanished quickly!

I get to say I called this one: In October I wrote, "I'm skeptical of large, election-season predictions of massive budget surpluses - they allow politicians to conveniently promise everybody everything, then break all the promises without consequence when the real figures come out lower in January."

After all that talk of a massive budget surplus in Texas, whaddawe get?

Bubkes! Says Quorum Report's Daily Buzz:
The Legislative Budget Board adopted a spending cap of $62.8 billion for the upcoming biennium, more than likely assuring that lawmakers will need to find a mechanism to bust the cap in order to deliver promised property tax relief to Texas homeowners.

The new cap is more than 13 percent higher than the current baseline general fund budget of $55.5 billion. While that growth may seem like a lot, legislators must ensure they have the flexibility to shift billions of dollars of school tax support from local homeowners to the Legislature.

The tax shift alone would put the budget about $4 billion over the cap. Closing the gap through cuts alone would trigger draconian cuts among state agencies. Rep. Jim Pitts noted that the current LBB directive asking agencies to submit a budget at 90 percent of baseline would yield $2 billion in savings.

That enormous surplus we heard so much about during the election season has now vanished mere moments, relatively speaking, after gaveling open the session.

Who is surprised?

MORE from Kuff and South Texas Chisme.

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