"If we don't see a really significant improvement from anything I see right now, it'll be extraordinarily difficult next year," Daniels said. "In the 10 months between now and the beginning of the next legislature, our number one priority is going to be to try to maintain Indiana's solvency, Indiana's AAA credit rating, Indiana's position as one of the handful of states that only nicked, as opposed to gouged, education and didn't raise taxes.
"That's going to be a tough thing to bring off."
Tough? Really? Only elected officials committed to large government, and people who take out loans to pay for snacks can talk this way.
In the Kole house, when the income slows, the spending slows. Sure we dip into the savings if it comes to that, but we will cut everything but the essentials if and when it gets desperate.
Essentials carries a strict definition here. Food, mortgage, utilities, gasoline, insurance. By utility, I mean water and electricity. Cable TV? Well, we don't have cable TV. That's a 100% cut. We don't go out to eat when it gets desperate. We don't go out for entertainment in such times. State government?
Since forecasters released new economic projections in December, state revenues have fallen short of projections by $160 million in the past two months. In fact, revenue has missed projections for 17 consecutive months, leading Gov. Mitch Daniels to order 20 percent in cuts to state agencies, a $150 million -- or 6 percent -- cut to state universities, and a $300 million -- or 3 percent -- trim to K-12 schools.
How did this man get the nickname, "The Blade". Call him "The Penknife", or "The Fingernail File". These are more appropriate.
If the objective is to maintain solvency, then get to some serious cutting. I haven't seen any departments closed. Some items have been merged, but I am unaware of anything eliminated. At the very least, if the money isn't there, departments that survive can be cut to 50%, and schools can be cut at least 10%.
Our state government is made up of a bunch of babies. If Daniels and state legislators lack the fortitude, they should get out of the way and let those who have it step in.
"After five years of building a $1.3 billion reserve, it's been shrunk by half in the past eight months, and that's after cutting $800 million of spending," said Ryan Kitchell, director of the state's Office of Management and Budget.
"With revenue continuing to decline at unprecedented double-digit rates, our toughest decisions are still ahead of us."
Bollocks. Libertarians in the statehouse would have maintained the entire reserve. Cutting is not a tough decision, especially when economic forces make it such that explaining the cuts is child's play.