|Newsletter: It Is A Difficult Task|
|Tuesday, February 08 2011 - 11:57 am|
As I go around the area I have made it a mission to explain to audiences why cutting $1.6 billion out of $25.5 billion is such a difficult task. After all, it only represents about 6% of the total amount, not an insurmountable task for many of us in today's business world.
When you view the pie chart below, you can see that there are areas of the budget that are untouchable except through Statutory or Constitutional changes. In fact, the only area of the budget readily acceptable for cuts is the General Fund which totals $7.7 billion.
The General Fund is itself broken into two major categories: Discretionary spending and non discretionary spending. Non discretionary means exactly what it says- it means the Legislature does not have discretion over how the dollars are spent. Of the total $7.7 billion dollars contained in the General Fund $ 5.1 billion are not available to cut.
I know you are starting to get the picture and it is not pretty. The only money available to cut by the Legislature is $2.6 billion. That is right! We must cut $1.6 billion out of $ 2.6 billion!
As you have probably already guessed, the items funded by the $2.6 billion are primarily health care and higher education and that is why this State continues to fail to get off the bottom of the bad lists.
Until we as a State establish true priorities which recognize the importance of health care and education to our citizens, we will continue to have to make decisions which devastate the future of not only our State but even worse - our kids.