In today’s Roanoke Times, Metro columnist Dan Casey explains clearly and convincingly why Virginia’s supposed budget “surplus” is actually a deficit. Here’s an excerpt, bolding added by me for emphasis.
First, the General Assembly demanded that businesses remit to the state in June tax receipts that ordinarily would have been paid in July, after the new budget year began. (Former Gov. Tim Kaine, in the budget he proposed just before leaving office, came up with this gimmick.)
This allowed the bean counters to treat $227 million that ordinarily would have been booked as 2011 revenue (the current budget year) as money that came in the 2010 budget year.
That wipes out any so-called “surplus” right there. But it’s actually worse than that.
Because all those July payments were counted in June, we started the 2011 fiscal year $227 million in the red. The General Assembly has agreed to do the same thing next year to take care of that.
Which means the budget year that starts next July also will begin in the red.
But it’s even worse than that.
The other game they played was with the Virginia Retirement System, which handles state employee pensions. In the final three months of the 2009 budget year, the state simply didn’t make $135 million in payments it owed to the system.
You don’t get more dishonest than that. No wonder why people are cynical about politics and politicians.