Closing the Deficit: An Unbalanced Approach

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Closing the Deficit: An Unbalanced Approach

By - May 19, 2009

This afternoon, the Governor will take action on an operating budget that must close an $8 billion deficit, likely the largest in state history. Rather than take an approach that balances raising revenue and reducing spending, the budget passed by the Legislature relies heavily on deep budget cuts in education, health care, economic security, public safety, and the environment.

The graph below shows how the Legislature’s budget closes the three-year deficit. (The numbers may differ slightly once the Governor exercises her veto power.)



  • Budget cuts: The budget makes a total of $6.7 billion in near-general fund cuts. We’ll be providing more detail on these budgets cuts later in the week. Federal stimulus funds offset $3 billion of these cuts, however this number is somewhat misleading because other spending cuts reduce the federal funds the state is entitled to receive.
  • Revenue: Actions on revenue are expected to raise a net $242 million. These include restructuring the resale certificate program, opening nine liquor stores on Sunday, and opening liquor stores in malls during the holiday season.
  • Rainy Day Fund: $445 million is transferred from the Rainy Day Fund, leaving a balance in that account of $250 million.
  • Capital budget resources: The budget uses $777 million of funds that are typically appropriated in the capital budget.
  • Other transfers and changes: An additional $389 million in funds is accessed by transferring money from other accounts and making other marginal changes.
  • Ending balance: These actions leave an estimated $573 million in an unrestricted balance, although recent revenue collections suggest the ending balance could actually be lower.