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BUDGET FARCE

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Why do our legislators waste time and money going through the motions of reviewing and passing a budget? Their actions on the Fiscal Year 2000 budget were little more than a shell game. But if they think they’re fooling anyone with their sleight of hand, they’re wrong.
After passing the Financially Accountability Act of 1999, which called for a balanced budget, the 23rd Legislature went on to pass a $450 million budget that no one – including the senators – imagines is balanced.
The post auditor himself, who did a major about-face on projected revenues, conceded that the final projections are stretched to the maximum of what could possibly flow into the coffers if it were a perfect world, and then admitted the projections are off by millions of dollars. In truth, the revenue projections in the Legislature’s budget are so inflated that senators have simply handed their powers over the public pursestrings to the governor and his budget director — again.
That is not a comforting prospect.
Since the day of the inauguration, all the rhetoric from Government House has been cuts, cuts, cuts. But not only have we seen no real cuts, we have seen the typical political patronage jobs filled over and over.
Unfortunately for the Turnbull-James administration, their constituents can see that the new emperors are not wearing any clothes.
The cupboards are bare, the wolf is in the house and yet the administration and the Legislature continue to act as if all the expenditures are covered. They pretend to do what is necessary to put our shaky fiscal house in order but in reality have run for cover.
To call this process a farce is kind. What it is is dishonest.
There have been no significant payroll reductions and no serious cuts in government spending. Government waste and inefficiency continue unabated. The Legislature ignores the memorandum of understanding agreed to by the governor and the Interior Department. And the people – via the press – remain largely in the dark because they are being denied access to a lot of important information.
So much for a grander vision.

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