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Why state budget deficit numbers donít match

Chaaron Pearson on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 12:00:00 am

Is the math that hard?

In a word, yes.  The math is that hard.  In Texas, for example, it has been reported that there is between a $15 billion and $27 billion shortfall with some claiming $15 billion and others claiming $27 billion.  What accounts for these differences?

Budget shortfalls rely on two estimates, estimated state revenue and estimated state spending and this year there are large disagreements on the spending side of the equation.  How much of the budget is increased for inflation?  What about population growth?  How much can be cut?  What will be cut?

States with shortfalls are looking to bridge the gap to balance the budget and maintain the current level of services.  In recent years, huge shortfall numbers have plagued troubled states. 

Budget disagreements are nothing new, but budget deficit solutions (taxes and budget cuts) are unpleasant.  When the budget shows a surplus, itís rare for politicians to be upset.

Read more: Stateline Ė State budgets explained: Why deficit figures donít always add up

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