Senate Appropriations Chairman Bob Burns is playing the role of Cassandra in this year's budget negotiations. Read his column, but focus on these two statistics.
The state's historical revenue growth is about 7 percent or approximately $700 million per year;
The debt service in (the Governor's) plan will add as much as $215 million annually to state spending, which will be added to the already $500 million to $600 million annual increase that takes place without any legislative action.
Burns has been making this speech for months. Unless the legislature is willing to make some actual cuts the budget is heading for a train wreck. The legislature can balance this year's budget by using the rainy day fund, accounting gimmicks and new debt. But every $100 million that the state borrows costs nearly $10 million a year in interest. Next year the formula-driven increases and the debt service will use the entire normal revenue increase--without any increases to any other program in state government.