In the rush to get away for the New Year, we never did look at six month revenue figures, and they’re not particularly good.
December revenues were $4 million ahead of estimates, but that’s only because $9.2 million of Medicaid enhancement monies, expected last month, were late.
In other words, we would have been shy about $5 million for the month.
For the six months, we are $41.8 million short, and that’s just about the amount we’re off ($36.9 million) in that Medicaid enhancement fund, monies which are not expected to be made up.
The good news then is that Ways and Means Committees were very close to hitting the mark precisely.
Think about it.
Had we used the rosy scenario from lame duck Governor John Lynch, whose approval rating continues in the 60s, we’d be running more than a quarter billion dollars in the red (more like $300,000,000), just as we were two years ago when Lynch and Democrats were in control of revenue estimates.
Only one grade can apply to this governor when it comes to revenue estimates. Yes, that would be an F!
How can one man continue to be so far off the mark year after year?
That’s more than a rhetorical question.
How can it be?
Clearly, it’s because the governor is not in the business of looking at realistic numbers but rather of picking numbers out of thin air so that he can justify more and more spending.
Citizens of the state can breathe a sigh of relief that Republicans didn’t let Lynch get away with it this time.
Lynch has never taken budgeting responsibly, and he has managed to fool most of the public most of the time.
At the six month mark, revenues total $810.2 million. $852.0 were expected. The shortfall is “only” 4.9 percent, but imagine how bad it would be had the legislature allowed Lynch’s numbers to stand!
On the positive side, business taxes for the year are up 4.8 percent, rooms and meals monies are up 3 percent, and real estate transfer monies are up 4 percent.
On the down side, tobacco revenues are off 7 percent (so much for that tax decrease—blame that not on Lynch but on Speaker Bill O’Brien and Republicans), liquor transfers are 2.9 percent off, and lottery monies are 12.8 percent off (so much for those special commission incentives for those who sell lottery tickets). Interest and dividends revenues, which mostly come in later, could potentially be another real problem. We're currently off only $5.8 million ($17.0 million versus $22.8 million planned), but that's 25.4 percent and will most likely be felt more come spring.
Gasoline tax monies are nearly on plan, and highway funds overall are actually up $4.4 million, but that's mostly a function of earlier payments received.
The point is that the situation isn’t all that bad (of course, we have that unexpected $30 plus million we owe the federal government for past abused).
The point is we’d really be in trouble had Lynch gotten his way at budget time.
I kid you not.