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josie's avatar

If you were Governor, what would you have cut out of the budget?

Asked by josie (30934points) May 6th, 2020

Since people aren’t working, there is a serious tax revenue shortfall In my state. The Governor is cutting $775,000,000 out of the budget.
The cuts include a $300 million reduction in K-12 public-school funding, $210 million from Medicaid spending and $110 million from college and university funding.

All state government agencies will see their budgets cut, adding up to $100 million, except for the state Department of Corrections.

The state Constitution demands a balanced budget, so something has to give.

Is that how your budget cut would look?

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15 Answers

gorillapaws's avatar

I’d parole a ton of the non-violent offenders. That would save a fortune and reduce the impact of COVID-19 in the corrections systems. I’d institute a 0.05% luxury tax on items valued over $100k (excluding primary residences). I’d cap the salaries for coaches of public university sports teams to $250k and freeze all new spending on non-academic/non-research university programs. I’d make all utilities in the state publicly owned including internet. I’d look into opening a state-run bank to make loans to local businesses. Profits on interest would be returned to the state government, or used to buy back state bonds.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

If it doesn’t have to do with police, infrastructure and the adjudication of differences, everything else would be scrutinized.

seawulf575's avatar

I’d start by doing a line by line evaluation of everything the state is spending money for and that includes elected officials and their staff. Cut the staff to the bare bones unless the official wants to pay for the extras out of his/her own pocket. Evaluate the spending on universities and cut that since they are not holding classes anyway. Have each college and university submit the actual costs they are incurring at this time and cut the non-essentials. Look at every office and see what money they have allocated and if it is actually being spent at this time.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Basically yes, and cut all discretionary spending and look at surplus accounts or unspent funds, or projects slated for this year that can wait or unfinished projects from last year (often on budgets year after year, so the money is actually NOT spent.) Survival right now is key.

*I would also check to see if the state created an account with 6 months to a year of operating funds, which is what most accountants recommend as a standard for govt entities (here anyway.) If they have that reserve, I’m not sure I’d cut Medicaid and school funding at this point, but rather vote on using surplus funds instead. That’s what those accounts are for.

zenvelo's avatar

I would cut out highway funding first. And with reduced traffic, also cut the highway patrol.

Soubresaut's avatar

@josie—Do you know whether the education systems in your state will be able to adequately respond and adapt to the new demands on schooling and learning with such large budget cuts? Do you know how many people will lose health care with the medicaid budget cuts? I guess “something has to give,” and I don’t really know how those systems are run in your state, those just seem like strange choices to me. (I mean these as honest questions, but I’m not sure if that is the way they read. Not trying to debate you. I know you were just stating your state’s decisions, and weren’t weighing in one way or the other).

To answer the question more directly, on my own I probably wouldn’t know where to start. Looking at the suggestions, I’d go for something like @gorillapaws‘s plan. Seems like it’s designed to work immediately yet maintain/provide stability over time. Short-term budget slashing seems short-sighted.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@zenvelo That is automatic in my state; highway funds come from Gasoline taxes !

The estimate is a one third drop in gas tax revenue. They are lay offs and subcontractor have been put on hold on highway projects.

YARNLADY's avatar

Figure out what percent the shortfall is of the entire budget, the cut every item by that amount.

zenvelo's avatar

@josie You don’t say what your state is. But your governor is going to cut medicaid, when millions are out of work and broke? People will die.

And cutting education is short sighted.

You don’t mention raising income taxes. Make sure everyone is paying their fair share.

Cupcake's avatar

@seawulf575 Universities are definitely still holding classes. There may be less capital expenses with remote learning, but there are still essential personnel on campus and added expenses related to infrastructure, technology, training and revamping courses to be online. There are also a million contingency plans requiring a million personnel to participate in a million meetings (approximately).

josie's avatar

Since you brought it up, It might be easier to figure what somebody else’s fair share is if we know what you believe your fair share is.
What is your fair share?

seawulf575's avatar

@Cupcake Yep, they are doing remote classes. but not all programs can be done remotely so not all classes are being held. And take a look at all those additional expenses that aren’t necessary. The expenses of keeping the buildings heated or cooled, the maintenance, the security…all sorts of things that can definitely be cut back. Lots of savings. I know in my state there are dozens of universities and colleges. Each gets funding from the state and the savings each of these can provide would add up to be a huge cut in funding.

zenvelo's avatar

@josie does your state have income tax? Many don’t. A progressive income tax has those who can afford it pay in a more fair manner than a sales tax or property tax.

JLeslie's avatar

I’d have to look at the budget, I don’t know everything we spend on. Any money spent on beautifying or creating new parks I’d push off the beautification. I’m not talking about making places safe, safety should still happen.

I’d do a tax with a sunset clause after one year or end of 2020. My state doesn’t have income tax, so either we would have a one year state Income tax, or raise sales tax 1% or 2% all over the state for a year. my state doesn’t have tax on groceries and that should stay that way. Any state that has a tax on groceries shouldn’t raise that tax if they raise sales tax in general. NY And NJ have no tax on clothing, they could add a tax. I’d also do a big tax on fuel! Gas is very low right now. Again, with a sunset clause of end of 2020 or a year. I’d tax businesses making big profits.

I’d consider cutting education if a lot of people plan to continue to have their children do homeschooling, but teachers out of work collect unemployment, which costs the state too, so I’d really have to weigh that.

I’d keep government workers who can work from home at home and not pay for so much office space air conditioning, electricity, water use, toilet paper, etc.

I would hope there is some money set aside for emergencies, so I’d be dipping into that.

My state, Florida, relies on tourists! We tax the tourists so we don’t pay taxes. That is almost destroyed for my state right now. It’s huge. I’d be very interested to hear about the budget from my governor. I might google and see what comes up.

JLeslie's avatar

I just read a couple of articles about budget cuts in Florida and my governor said he’ll likely have to do a lot of vetoes, even on things he supports. Some things will just have to wait. He said he didn’t want to decide anything just yet, wanted to wait a few more weeks and see where things are.

The article said “a severe recession would produce a $5.6 billion shortfall and 3.5% increase in Medicaid spending.” It wasn’t clear where they derived those numbers from.

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