Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Attitude, posture and Delaware’s moment

June 12, 2009

“Attitude and posture must be cultivated your whole life.” – John Steinbeck

Like the ring of fine crystal, wisdom carries a permanance and unassailability that make it akin to God.  As Delaware winds down toward the final hour of dealing with its $900 million budget shortfall, the uncertainty and weight of the final remedies are affecting attitude and posture of people near and far.  Pessimism makes our attitudes and our bodies slouch.

Two encouraging aspects of this dark scenario are deadline and law.  June 30 – the end of Delaware’s fiscal year – will be here in less than two and a half weeks.  Unless the sun ceases to rise and fall and the earth ceases to spin on its axis, that day will inevitably arrive.  By law, when that day finally ends, Delaware’s lawmakers must approve a balanced budget.  They must  make the overall cost of state government balance with 98 percent of the state ‘s projected revenues for  fiscal year 2010.  The other two percent of projected revenues – again by law – must go into a rainy day fund which helps insure Delaware against natural and other emergency-grade catastrophes.

Delaware’s lawmakers seek their positions and are paid well to represent their constituents.  Now it’s decision time and we’re all waiting to see how the other shoe will drop.  In fact, one of the reasons why our attitudes are sagging  along with our postures is the uncertainty about just how many more shoes will drop before this major economic correction levels off.  In the mean time, it’s like we’re on a roller coaster’s longest downhill run, hurtling at speeds our churning guts tell us can only end in crash, disaster and pain.  On the roller coaster, we see the end of the run and know that relief is ahead, so long as the structure doesn’t collapse.  June 30 for Delaware is like the end of the run ahead of us.  Let’s hope and pray that when this ride ends, the collective wisdom of our representatives will put us back on steadier ground so we can return to cultivating our attitudes and posture.

Markell: no layoffs to trim budget

May 13, 2009

Jack Markell

Jack Markell

Cape Gazette reporter Kevin Spence and I interviewed Gov. Jack Markell for about half an hour Monday morning at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover. The impromptu interview, wedged by the governor and communications director Joe Rogalsky into a busy schedule, reinforces campaign commitments to accessibility and open government.

Facing an unprecedented budget deficit of an estimated $780 million, Markell nonetheless appeared rested and confident. He said he is making no plans to use layoffs of state employees to trim Delaware’s expenses and reiterated his budget package of cuts, and tax and fee increases, to address the shortfall dilemma.

Markell said he doesn’t see any of the budget votes ahead as fights: “We have to balance the budget. We have no choice. If we don’t pass a balanced budget then the government will be forced to shut down. We can’t write checks on July 1 if we don’t have a balanced budget by the end of June. If the General Assembly restores any of the cuts that I have proposed, or rejects any of the tax or fee increases I have proposed, they have to come up with cuts or increases in other areas.”

Markell said his administration also reviewed the possibility of an early retirement option to trim the state’s payroll. “It just would have cost too much money,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

The governor said he doesn’t expect much good news when Delaware’s Economic and Financial Advisory Committee (DEFAC) meets soon for its final prediction of revenues available for state operations in fiscal year 2010. “The forecast could very easily worsen,” he said. “We could be looking at the shortfall growing beyond the $780 million figure we’re using now.” He said while he appreciates $155 million in federal stimulus money to help close this year’s gap, that’s only good for one year.