Budget Perfidy II: The Wrath of Math

As noted here and here, not only was Governor Moody’s Rell’s OPM Secretary Robert Genuario the source of the $8 Billion deficit number on January 20, but the Governor herself cited that number in her February 2 pre-budget budget speech!

(h/t tparty)

…the red ink for the next two years, the period covered by my proposed budget, is nearly eight billion dollars.

To recap:

January 20 – Rell Administration estimates 2010-2011 budget shortfall at $8 Billion
February 2 – The Governor gets time from the networks to pre-introduce her budget, and sets the 2010-2011 budget shortfall at $8 Billion
February 4 – Rell, to great fanfare, announces her 2010-2011 budget, which closes a $6 Billion shortfall. Declares victory.

In a Friday press conference, the Governor strained credulity even farther:

In an interview Friday at the Hartford Marriott, she told reporters she “never withheld anything intentionally,” adding that the Democratic majority should “stop complaining and do something.”

In two days the Governor “lost” a $2,000,000,000 shortfall and says she “never withheld anything intentionally.” Either her budget was a political document that downplayed the size of the budget deficit (dishonestly), or this is the most incompetent use of addition and subtraction that has taken place since the abacus was invented. The Governor apparently would have us believe the latter.

And, telling the GA Democrats to “stop complaining and do something,” is just adding insult to injury [translation: Dems, hurry up and fix my administration’s dishonesty/incompetence and don’t say anything, I may lose my popularity ratings]. Unfortunately for the Moody Blues, it turns out that budget stuff is tricky! Especially when you have to actually close a shortfall, instead of just arbitrarily picking a number that will help you politically, and then closing that “shortfall.”

What the Democrats should do instead is completely ignore the Governor and her staff in the crafting of a budget – they are either not interested, or incapable, of negotiating in good faith. Instead, come up with a budget of their own, using budget cuts and the installation of a progressive tax structure, and pass it. Let the Republicans in on the negotiations, so long as everyone on both sides understands that there is no more time for political messages – everyone’s ox is going to get gored. Taxes will be raised and spending will be cut, hopefully with an eye towards not cutting things that would result in more unemployment. And then let the Governor veto it if it doesn’t meet her nearly-every-other-day standard. This is too serious a crisis to engage people who either can’t, or won’t, count to 8.

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26 responses to “Budget Perfidy II: The Wrath of Math

  1. So, which is it, Jodi – six or eight billion dollars? Let’s start with the truth and we’ll go from there.

    If this is “complaining”, then she’s gonna have to invent a new word for what people will be doing when bridges start falling down.

  2. disgruntled_republican

    “progressive tax structure”

    Care to define YOUR definition of this term?

  3. So Gabe, while we have you on the line here, can you suggest four ways to cut spending? What does Donovan say?

  4. “What the Democrats should do instead is completely ignore the Governor and her staff in the crafting of a budget”

    ” This is too serious a crisis to engage people who either can’t, or won’t, count to 8.”

    I agree, and let’s hope the Democrats get serious about his mess and do what Gabe suggests here soon. Before Chris Donovan hires someone else for over six figures to help him talk, and count to 8.

  5. Instead of being constructive, Gabe continues to play petty “gotcha” politics.

  6. Instead of being constructive, Gabe continues to play petty “gotcha” politics.

    Inasmuch as this post convincingly reveals that Rell’s initial foray on this critically serious issue was characterized by either a stunning level of incompetence or (more likely) intentional deception and utter bad faith, I’d argue that its author is playing a more “constructive” role than almost anyone in this debate to date.

  7. The preferred method of the Democrats so far has been to warmly criticize every rational attempt to cut spending and to put off suggested spending cut proposals until the very last moment, if at all.

    At this point, all the rhetorical hatchets in favor of “revenue enhancements” come out and the Democrats use the shortened time element to stampede their members into voting for tax increases.

    So Gabe, four ways to cut spending.

    Go.

  8. In the meantime, in California: “California lawmakers were told to bring their toothbrushes and prepare for a long day Tuesday, with the goal of passing a budget as the state faces a $42 billion deficit and 20,000 layoff notices were set to go out to state workers Tuesday.

    “Bring a toothbrush, bring any necessities you want to bring, because I will not allow anyone to go home to resume their lives… as long as we know … that 20,000 people will be laid off,” Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, told lawmakers late Monday.

  9. That’s where dawdling gets’ya

  10. That’s where dawdling gets’ya

    That’s where being required by law to negotiate with intransigent bad faith actors who are in denial of economic reality gets you.

  11. That’s where being required by law to negotiate with intransigent bad faith actors who are in denial of economic reality gets you.

    I love it how the 2/3 law is deemed “ridiculous,” the Democrats are negotiating “impossible compromises,” and the “obstructionist” Republicans are “holding the state hostage.” Meanwhile, Prince Robert calls Republicans a “threat to the state’s survival” and “terrorists.”

    Amazing talk, coming from the party of “bipartisanship.”

  12. Well now, T there is no such legislative requirement in Connecticut, where the Democrats have a veto proof majority. That majority means that the Democrats rather then the Republicans will shape the budget. So, shape it – right here, right now. The question for you, Gabe, Donovan remains: Propose four ways to cut spending. And don’t dawdle.

    Go.

  13. Inasmuch as this post convincingly reveals that Rell’s initial foray on this critically serious issue was characterized by either a stunning level of incompetence or (more likely) intentional deception and utter bad faith, I’d argue that its author is playing a more “constructive” role than almost anyone in this debate to date.

    Nice use of big words, you look all “sophisticated” and shiz….

    How is accusing someone of acting in bad faith constructive to any discussion? Please, enlighten us.

  14. How is accusing someone of acting in bad faith constructive to any discussion?

    Of course concluding that your partner is acting in bad faith is constructive to a negotiation — especially if it leads to ending it.

  15. Where would rates have to go to close this all by tax increases? Does anyone have a really good idea yet? After all, I would imagine that a big chunk of personal income tax revenue was from a small portion of the populace, and in particular, capital gains. How well have the people in the state government projected this in the past? Is the current situation we’re in so radically different that they could be way off? (I seriously do not know the answers to these questions: does anyone here know?)

  16. Where would rates have to go to close this all by tax increases? Does anyone have a really good idea yet? After all, I would imagine that a big chunk of personal income tax revenue was from a small portion of the populace, and in particular, capital gains. How well have the people in the state government projected this in the past? Is the current situation we’re in so radically different that they could be way off? (I seriously do not know the answers to these questions: does anyone here know?)

    Raise the sales tax and tax those who make over 200k at a higher rate AND reduce certain non-essential spending programs and I believe we could get out of this thing in a fair and balanced way.

  17. Raise the sales tax and tax those who make over 200k at a higher rate AND reduce certain non-essential spending programs and I believe we could get out of this thing in a fair and balanced way.

    How would this plan affect you?

  18. I would pay a higher sales tax just like everyone else and, depending on which cuts were made to spending, I might be impacted by those as well.

  19. Raise the sales tax and tax those who make over 200k at a higher rate AND reduce certain non-essential spending programs and I believe we could get out of this thing in a fair and balanced way.

    Has someone run the numbers on this in a credible fashion? What programs are going to be cut? Because it seems like some legislators don’t have the faintest idea except to cut one particular staff member in the state senate or someone’s limousine. If we raise sales tax by 1%, how much retail sales will we lose to the Internet? How much will retail be down this year because people are buying less? Remember, in CT, food and clothing under $50 are not subject to sales tax, so I would imagine that sales tax is going to vary quite a bit with the economy – more so than in other states.

    As for raising the taxes on people that make over $200K, what rate do you have in mind? Has anyone presented a real plan with real numbers that has some degree of accuracy, or at least assumptions that we can look at? How much did the state collect from people making over $200K a year last year or the year before? How much do you want to collect from the same group now? How much less is that cohort making?

    It just seems like so many people seem to just throw some stuff out there wihtout really knowing what king od impact it would have. I’d at least like to see some of the assumptions so that we can see if they are completely crazy or relatively sane.

  20. I would pay a higher sales tax just like everyone else and, depending on which cuts were made to spending, I might be impacted by those as well.

    So it’s very convenient for you to assume that increasing taxes on those making $200,000 a year is “fair and balanced.”

  21. So it’s very convenient for you to assume that increasing taxes on those making $200,000 a year is “fair and balanced.”

    Haven’t you heard: it’s patriotic to pay higher taxes.

  22. Haven’t you heard: it’s patriotic to pay higher taxes.

    That’s what Vice President Biden says. Of course, he also refers to eating at a restaurant that closed 20 years ago, and thinks that a drunk driver killed his first wife (when, in reality, his first wife died after driving into a car driven by a sober man).

    I just find it funny that you offer to pay a higher flat sales tax, “just like everyone else,” but think that the income tax should be raised on other people (not yourself).

  23. Of course concluding that your partner is acting in bad faith is constructive to a negotiation — especially if it leads to ending it.

    Why don’t the Democrats use their super-majority status and ram a budget down all our throats then?

    Are they afraid of “owning” it if it raises taxes?

  24. I just find it funny that you offer to pay a higher flat sales tax, “just like everyone else,” but think that the income tax should be raised on other people (not yourself).

    Well I mean if we could put a barcode on everyone’s head that could be scanned to show annual income at cash registers all around the state then of course I would be fine with a sliding scale of sales tax based on income but I don’t see that happening anytime soon…

  25. Well I mean if we could put a barcode on everyone’s head that could be scanned to show annual income at cash registers all around the state then of course I would be fine with a sliding scale of sales tax based on income but I don’t see that happening anytime soon…

    You missed my point. You love the idea of a flat sales tax, but you think that a flat income tax is not “fair and balanced.” Never mind that the top 5.6% of taxpayers reported incomes of more than $200,000, and already pay 51% of the income and use tax in Connecticut… it’s only “fair and balanced” if someone else pays more, right?

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