Letters: Running on a credit card

Posted by : Staff Reports | On : November 4, 2011

Dear Editor,

In July of this year, State Representative Jim Pitts made clear he was proud of the budget that was passed for the 2012-2103 biennium. Newspapers in the district printed an article by Pitts that summed up the legislative session. In it he writes, “Despite facing a record $27 billion shortfall, I remained committed to passing a balanced budget that DID NOT raise taxes, did not use the Rainy Day fund for ongoing expenses, and did not grow government.” What he did not tell you is that they really did not balance the budget, and the Rainy Day Fund is effectively gone come 2013. That budget assumes the student population will remain constant, even though about 160,000 new students are expected to enroll in the next two years. This will amount to about a $2.3 billion shortfall.
The budget also only funds Medicaid up to the spring of 2013, guaranteeing a $4.8 billion shortfall. Keep in mind this is the best case scenario. Add it all together and that’s $7.1 billion, which is about what we have left in the Fund. This is not a balanced budget, it is simply running government on a credit card.

Clint Stutts