Happy Birthday Jody! I hear that Virginia has a perfect gift for you, a calculator. I mean, after all, managing a budget is hard work without a calculator. Since Virginia has a sales tax free holiday, you can send her one on the cheap (Thanks to Wal Mart ).
The reason I mention the calculator as being the perfect gift is that Wagner, while serving over the past three years as Secretary of Finance, has made the claim that Virginia is better off than California in terms of the budget. While that might be true, Virginia has a budget shortfall of $730 million. Clearly, this estimate must be due to calculation errors. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports:
“No matter how you look at it, the forecast is pain.
Spending in the current Virginia budget for fiscal 2010 will have to be slashed up to $1.5 billion if the most dire economic forecast for state revenue prevails, according to the Governor’s Advisory Board of Economists.
That figure was the worst of three scenarios the board offered the governor.
Even the most optimistic forecast for state revenue during the current fiscal year, which began July 1, still calls for more than $730 million in reductions in state spending to balance the last year of the commonwealth’s 2009-10 budget.
The standard, middle-of-the-road forecast projects a deficit of about $1.1 billion.
Even Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch made this good point:
“[The Wagner term as Secretary of Finance were] years marked by muff-ups and miscalculations,” wrote columnist Jeff Schapiro (Richmond Times-Disptach, September 21, 2008). “There are legitimate reasons for taking a hammer to Wagner . . . The Kaine administration’s fiscal sins, perceived and actual, are numerous. Among them: pushing for higher transportation taxes even as the economy began its decline, and missing revenue projections by a mile – or two or three. Also, taking baby steps to balance the $77 billion budget more than a year ago, when perhaps more aggressive measures were justified.”
Jody wants us to trust her, when she says that she has brought fiscal responsibility to the government. Huh? Come again? Her budget predictions have been over, Virginia will now have to face future layoffs, etc. and yet, she expects Virginians to elect her as Lieutenant Governor.