This year's $940 million budget deficit is made up of two different categories:
First, the Revenue Estimating Conference - the panel of economists and financial experts our legislature relies on - met yesterday and told us that we are $570 million short of the revenue we originally expected for the year. That's the first part of the problem. This is due, in part, to the drop in oil prices and a slowdown in sales and corporate tax collections. In fact, we're paying out more in credits and refunds to corporations this year than we are collecting from them in taxes. This is not sound financial policy.
The other part of our $940 million budget problem this year is $370 million dollars in commitments we made that we don't have the funds to pay for. This is partly due to irresponsible budgeting by the previous administration. They failed to account for how many people would need access to public health care, how many students would qualify for TOPS, how many people would enroll in our public schools, and how many state inmates would be housed by our sheriffs, among other failures. Now the money is not there to pay those bills.
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