Governor Danielsalaam announced today that we are $255 million below anticipated tax revenue for April of 2009, and we will need to cut ONE BILLION from the budget.
This staggering, unanticipated shortfall is all the support one needs to show Representative Bill Crawford's genius in insisting on a one-year budget. Why Governor Danielsalaam insists on trying to project out two years in this economic environment is mind-boggling. However, that's not the thought-provoking comment.
It's the Guv's recognition that we MAY need to tap some of the state's $1.3 billion in reserves. Sure, if the choices are deep cuts in education or raising taxes instead, I would agree that using some surplus is the right call. But what do I know? I also think it's smart for elected officials to keep some cash handy for a crisis, and months ago, I found myself in a strong minority among my across-the-aisle peers on that point.
Shouldn't a $1.3 billion surplus send my GOP and Libertarian brethren into convulsions? Shouldn't we be hearing righteous clamor for the return of tax dollars taken without apparent need? If we overpay the IRS, at the end of the year, we get a refund. But name the GOP official standing up right now asking for the 1.3 billion refund for all of us.
(Crickets chirp. Tumbleweeds blow through).
You know why we hear very little? Because this is not a point of principle.
Carl Drummer keeps ten million in reserves for the Center Township Trustee's Office, and the blogging conservatorati pillories him. Governor Danielsalaam keeps $1.3 billion, and the GOP tells us he "keeps Indiana fiscally strong."
Can anyone across the aisle explain the difference between these two situations in a way that doesn't make me think you're just changing philosophy based on how much you like/dislike the guy holding the checkbook? Please reply. I'm looking forward to slicing and dicing!