(Chuck Muth) – OK, Sean Whaley of the Nevada News Bureau has a new story out that again raises my question about where this so-called $3 billion budget deficit figure that everyone seems to be tossing around comes from.
Rounding for simplicity’s sake, the current general fund budget is balanced at $6.5 billion.
Budget director Andrew Clinger estimates that revenue for the next two-year budget will be around $5 billion because the “temporary” tax hikes approved last year are supposed to sunset next year and because the Legislature stupidly spent one-time federal “stimulus” money on ongoing programs.
So the stimulus money won’t be there next year, but the programs will be. Which means all the Legislature did last year by kicking the can down the road and not taking serious budget cutting measures was to make next year’s budget problems even worse.
Anyway, Clinger’s preparing a $5 billion budget to present to the Legislature next January which matches the $5 billion in revenue the state expects to bring in over the next two years.
Now take $6.5 billion (the current budget) and subtract $5 billion (next year’s proposed budget) and you’re left with….a budget deficit of $1.5 billion.
Not $3 billion.
So where the heck does the $3 billion figure come from. Whaley explains:
“Nevada state agencies and public education have submitted budgets calling for nearly $8 billion in spending for the upcoming two years, about $3 billion more than what is expected to be available with current tax revenues.”
That’s right, boys and girls. The so-called $3 billion budget deficit is based solely on a wish-list budget increase of $1.5 billion over and above what is currently being spent that government bureaucrats and agencies WANT to have in the next biennium.
This is like saying you make $50,000 a year at your job – not getting the $2,000 raise you wanted, but instead a $2,000 pay cut – and then claiming your salary was actually reduced by $4,000. That’s public school math.
Again, we’re currently operating the government on a $6.5 billion budget. The budget director says he thinks we can only count on $5 billion in tax revenue for the next biennium, leaving us with a $1.5 billion budget deficit.
And even Democrat Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford has said there’s $1.5 billion worth of cuts in the budget which can still be made.
So why do people keep saying we have to raise taxes to balance the budget when (a) the budget deficit is $1.5 billion, not $3 billion, and (b) we can close the $1.5 billion budget deficit with budget cuts?
Or….if you want to increase some revenue without raising taxes, just legalize and tax prostitution statewide, marijuana, gay marriage and riding around on a motorcycle without wearing a helmet.
I mean, if “everything” is supposedly “on the table” to deal with this $1.5 billion budget deficit, shouldn’t “everything” mean, like, you know….everything?