Thursday, February 28, 2008

Don't Fear the Reaper (Well, Maybe Fear him Some). The budget news is in and it certainly isn't good. I suppose one can take a bit of heart from the fact that the revenue shortfall did not reach a billion dollars for the current biennium (at $935 million, close, but no cigar), but the worsening of the budget situation by $562 million is not the kind of news anyone was hoping for as the session wears on. This is certainly going to complicate matters, as it is going to be extremely difficult to fashion a solution that is palatable to all, not to mention the partisan cards that are going to be played in the development of any solution.

Minnesota Finance Commissioner Tom Hanson was the bearer of the bad budget news as he explained the state's fiscal woes. Revenue collections are down by $530 million, with $313 of that coming from from falling income tax receipts. A large part of that problem is generated by the falling value of investment portfolios and the resulting reduction in capital gains tax receipts. Corporate tax receipts fell by another $139 million since November and are now $456 million below the end-of-session estimate. State economist Tom Stinson (pictured at the right) provided detailed analysis during the formal presentation.

The one surprise to me was the way the word "recession" was tossed about with relative ease during the presentation. The budget performance estimates provided by Global Insight--the company that provides the state with its economic performance statistics--is predicting a short recession, lasting for the first two quarters of 2008. This recession not only affects the current biennium, but also causes problems in the 2010-2011 biennium. That projected shortfall now sits at $1.086 billion. By law, the Legislature has to balance not only the current biennial budget, but the budget for the "out years" as well. This may prove to be the more complicated task before the Legislature, as it will be impossible to use one-time money or reserve funds to solve the longer term budget problem.

Minnesota Department of Finance Link with February Forecast Documents:
http://www.finance.state.mn.us/

Molnau Ousted. It looks like another nail in bipartisanship's coffin as the Senate, on a straight party-line vote, voted not to approve Lieutenant Governor Carol Molnau as Commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. It is too early in the day to gauge reaction to the Senate's action, but my guess it will pretty much follow partisan lines. It will be interesting to see who the Governor taps to fill the role as the Department of Transportation Commissioner.

The Bad Penny Opera. German-American composer Kurt Weill wrote "The Threepenny Opera" in 1928 and Education Minnesota looks to be writing "The Bad Penny Opera" in 2008 as it brings the mandatory school employee health insurance pool bill back before the Legislature this session. There are several changes in the bill--principally that the pool will generate its own reserves for the first two years through premiums before it becomes self-insured--that make the bill appear different, at least on its face.

The bill creating the pool--SF 2747 (Betzold) was slated to be heard today in the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, but time constraints prevented that from happening. The bill will be heard next Tuesday evening.

I want to make it clear that I don't have a problem with Education Minnesota bringing this back again. There is clearly a segment of their membership that strongly believes that something resembling this approach is necessary to help combat skyrocketing premium costs. The question remains as to whether this is approach will achieve that goal.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://stop-ed.org/#viagra-without-prescription-49 order viagra - viagra 800 number

Anonymous said...

http://www.xanaxmed.com/#buy-xanax-drug-cheap-86 Xanax Generic - xanax g3722 white

Anonymous said...

http://www.xanaxmed.com/#alprazolam-no-prescription-21 Order Cheap Alprazolam Medication - xanax interactions antibiotics

Anonymous said...

http://www.pills4men.net/cialis.html#buy-cialis-without-prescription-52 cheap cialis - buy cialis no prescription mastercard

Anonymous said...

http://www.pills4men.net/cialis.html#online-cialis-93 buying cialis online - buy cialis pills online

Anonymous said...

http://www.xanaxbuyonlinedrug.com/#order-xanax-drug-96 Buy Alprazolam Online Without a Prescription - where to buy xanax bars online

Anonymous said...

http://www.pills4men.net/levitra_super_active_generic.html#buy-levitra-no-rx-19 levitra purchase online - buy levitra 10mg

Anonymous said...

http://www.xanaxbuyonlinedrug.com/#order-cheap-generic-alprazolam-41 Buy Alprazolam Without a Prescription - xanax help with nausea

Anonymous said...

http://www.pills4men.net/levitra.html#order-levitra-77 purchase levitra online - levitra medication

Anonymous said...

http://www.pills4men.net/vardenafil.html#buy-levitra-no-prescription-16 buy generic levitra - levitra recommended dose

Anonymous said...

http://www.pills4men.net/tadalafil.html#buy-generic-cialis-90 buy cialis - purchase generic cialis

Anonymous said...

http://www.pills4men.net/cialis.html#cialis-generic-68 buy cialis no rx - cialis shelf life

Anonymous said...

viagra online pharmacy homepage: http://stop-ed.org/#84070 - viagra without prescription, best place buy viagra yahoo posted in section: ED on 11.10.2012

Anonymous said...

lexapro 20 mg, http://hqhealthstore.com/lexapro.html#99336 escitalopram online - lexapro uses

Anonymous said...

Hello mаtes, how is the whοle thing, anԁ ωhat you ωoulԁ like to say гegaгding this paragгaph, in my view its genuinеly amazing for me.


Here iѕ my webρаge online payday loans no credit check
Feel free to surf my web blog :: Payday Loans

Anonymous said...

Buy Xanax Online Without a Prescription Cheap, as an example: http://www.onlinebuyxanax.com/#77-buy-generic-alprazolam-drugs - how long does it take xanax er to work, Order Best Price Alprazolam

Anonymous said...

Asking questiοns arе гeallу goοd thing if уοu are not
unԁеrstanding ѕomеthіng totally,
hoωeveг thiѕ paragraph prоvіdes
fastidious undеrѕtanding yеt.

Feel free to visit mу ωeblog; Www.2Applyforcash.com
my web page - Online Payday oan

Anonymous said...

Whats up thiѕ іs kinda of off topіc but Ӏ ωas wаnting tо knоw if blogs usе WYSIWYG edіtors or if you
have to manually code with HTML. I'm starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

my page; dieta hcg
Also see my web site - injectable hcg

Anonymous said...

Thе ρоst provides estаblished nеcessаry to myself.

Іt’ѕ verу helpful and you're simply obviously quite knowledgeable of this type. You have exposed my personal eyes for you to numerous views on this particular topic along with intriguing, notable and sound content material.

My blog Http://wota.zbz.bz/