by Ray Bendici
Nov 14, 2012
11:47 AMUnsteady Habits
Not So Simple Math
Okay, I'm not an economic or business expert, but I do understand simple math (to an extent).
In the past few days, we have seen that Connecticut has major financial woes: In addition already to high unemployment (8.9 percent), poor revenue growth, the highest debt-per-capita burden in the nation and no foreseeable recovery in home prices, the state budget is now already $365 million in the red, and Connecticut is now ranked last in credit quality. This all despite record tax hikes last year and the governor's aggressive pursuit of—and tax breaks for—big business "job creators."
On the other side of the equation, we have a recent report that educators now want to increase spending on education by $460 million—on top of the $3.7 billion we spent last year, among the most in the nation. This on the heels of calls for judges salaries to increase by $45,000, soaring Medicaid costs, questionable limited infrastructure projects and needed payment increases to the critically underfunded state employee pension fund. And don't forget all those who will be seeking assistance from damages caused by Hurricane Sandy.
I guess I'm just baffled to as how this is all going to work. I've heard the old saying "You can't get blood from a stone," but I'm not sure we even own a stone to squeeze at this point.
Honestly, it's become kind of comical—despite every indication that Connecticut's economy and state budget are broken and hemorrhaging red ink, there are those who keep holding their hands out asking for more. And I understand that in some cases there's nowhere else to turn, but still ...
Rather than be another member of the evergrowing chorus of those questioning how this all came to pass, I wish I had some answers or ideas on how to fix our financial mess. The "making more money" option was already put into play when taxes were raised last year, so is it crazy now to suggest that the next part of the equation would seem to be in the area of "spending less"? I mean, any time that I've had financial issues, I've spent less until things evened out.
But that's just simple math. How could that ever work in such a complex situation? Am I missing something here?