March 11, 2001
Leaders of the House and Senate have decided to cut state budgets by 14 percent and avoid the dreaded specter of a tax increase. The growth in state revenues is now projected at a record low of about 1 percent.
The action will still leave the 2002 budget with a shortfall of about $120 million. Gov. Musgrove wants the Legislature to make the necessary additional cuts now. The Legislature wants the governor to make the cuts, later in the fiscal year.
It's not quite high noon at the OK Corral, but there is a classic standoff. Nobody wants to make the additional cuts. While we desperately need leadership. we're getting too much political expediency and posturing.
The result could be a housecleaning in the Legislature or a one-term governor. Obviously, the stakes are high.