The State of Texas has a budget problem. Part of the problem is something called a structural deficit. In an earlier blog at this site (A Budgetary Frankenstein), Abby Rapoport’s (The Structural Deficit Theme) definition of a structural deficit was quoted. She wrote, “For those who don’t speak budget-nerd, the term refers to a budget that can’t add up – where income can’t cover costs.”
On May 15, 2006, Ms. Carole Keeton Strayhorn, then Texas State Comptroller of Public Accounts, sent a letter to Governor Rick Perry. She warned that the proposed tax plan was fiscally unsound. She wrote, “As the state’s chief fiscal officer, it is my responsibility to spell out exactly what the [tax plan] means to our state’s fiscal integrity…. [The] plan simply does not pay for itself. As of this moment, this legislation is a staggering $23 billion short of the funds needed to pay for the promised tax cuts over the next five years.”
The Comptroller was right.
The letter also predicts cuts in public education.
“There is no economic miracle that will close the gap [the] plan creates …. The gap is going to continue to grow, year by year. There are only two ways to close a chasm of that magnitude — future tax increases … or massive cuts in essential state services — like public education …”
She was right. It didn’t take a crystal ball to predict the outcome, just simple math: it didn’t add up. It doesn’t add up. It will never add up.
So here we are in 2011 and we have, as predicted, a budget crisis with huge cuts proposed in public education: planned pain.