Budget By-product

At the end of last week, lawmakers in both the state house and senate agreed on state budget cuts that will hopefully allow the state to move forward over the next two fiscal years without having to do any more hacking.  300 currently vacant state positions will not be filled and general spending will be cut, while new labor agreements with public-worker unions still have to be negotiated.

But keep in mind that all of these numbers and cuts and non-cuts are based on projections, expectations, and hopes.  If the economy here worsens or it tourism numbers continue to slide below the recent-uncharted territories, then the state's tax base will not meet the revised projections, and the legislature will be right back at the drawing board, or the cutting board, next session.

The federal stimulus money provided from Washington D.C., spared state decision-makers from having to make more drastic cuts, and a key now will be to try and get the economic engine revved up again, perhaps soon if local consumer confidence grows and the expectation of local job stability takes hold.  The budget dollar figures are so large that it is sometimes hard to comprehend where all of the money goes or doesn't go, but the effects of tough times on all of us and on services provided or not provided in our state are the stark realities of a recession.  Think about it...