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Revenue Projections--A Scorecard Does Exist

Some things we can argue about, summoning our best rhetoric to prove our case.

Other things, we cannot argue about.  Numbers speak for themselves.

Some things, we can gloat about, claiming we were right and the other side was wrong.

When it comes to all important revenue projections, numbers speak for themselves.

There's a paper trail, and when one side claims it is better at making projections than the other side, we have the evidence.  That's what I provided last year when one Republican (no names please) took to the House floor and wrongly claimed that his party was better at projecting revenues than Democrats.

I just happened to have the proof in my pocket at the time because a few years back, with the help of the legislative budget office, I went back and had a chart prepared for the past dozen or so years.

The truth is that historically both parties are off by about the same amount.  Democrats tend to overestimate revenues (so as to have more to budget for spending); but Republicans tend to underestimate revenues (so as to spend less).

As always, you need not take my word for it.  LBAO updated the chart and supplied me with an electronic version today (click chart below).

The most recent Ways and Means Committee was outstanding at projectingrevenues (off by ony 0.03 percent based on actual vs. plan; off by only 0.48 percent based on revenues vs. budgeted amounts). 


I'm not going to get into an argument as to the whys here; the numbers speak for themselves.

The worst year for estimates was 2009 when Democrats in control (no names please) were off by a whopping 11.92 percent; they overestimated revenues by more than 300 million thus creating a crisis for Governor John Lynch and the Legislature.  Basically the same Democrats were spot on for 2010, missing by only 0.28 percent.


But don't just blame Democrats.  In 2005, the Republicans (no names please) were off by nearly as much percentage-wise, 8.56 percent, more than $170 million.


Why do I bring this up now?


That's easy to explain.


The first (and some would say the most important) thing the new legislature will do is project revenues.  It's important to get it right; at least to be in the ballpark; and lest the projectors think there will be no day of reckoning, rest assured, there will be.


Success (or failure) will be added to this chart...I'll be here for at least two more years to see that it's done; and hopefully someone else will carry on long after I'm gone.


Neither party has a monopoly on being right; both parties should strive to come within one percent.  The way to do that is to forget about creating more or less revenues to spend; just concentrate on getting it right.  Neither an optimist nor a pessimist be; this job calls for a realist at the helm. 


Truth in blogging--Yes, Ways and Means is my choice for a committee assignment, but truth be told, I don't expect to get it.  I've been blackballed in the past by a certain "high powered" Republican...yes that would be the same one who oversaw the 8.56 percent debacle, a major debacle it was too (no names please).


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Comp Actual-Budget Revenue~1.xls‎ (42 KB‎); Plan to Actual Combined GF~1.xls‎ (40 KB‎)‎[Open as Web Page‎]‎[Open as Web Page‎]

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Reader Comments (2)

I would love to see these charts!

Unfortunately, none of your links are working for me. Is there any way you could you upload the data online somewhere (like Google Drive, or wherever) and link to that instead?
December 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWill May
Hmmm; others have said this as well. I'll try to cut and paste the info in here some time soon.
December 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterRep Steve Vaillancourt

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