* Jim Nowlan gives us a rundown of where we are…
This fiscal year, our state’s general funds are spending $22 billion as a result of court-ordered outlays. Then, there is $12 billion in “hard expenditures” we must pay for debt service, pensions and transfers to local governments and Medicaid accounts.
We can add to those totals another $6 billion in unpaid bills. For example, the state is as much as 673 days late in reimbursing medical providers for employee health care services. […]
These expenditures total $40 billion for the year, but we have only $30 billion in revenue coming into the general funds to pay all these bills.
Of course, we say we must tighten our belts. And, of course, we always can do some of that, but less than you might imagine.
Annual state pension payments of $7.2 billion are mostly debt service for underfunding pensions and sweetening them in years past, and the state high court has said we must pay them.
During the past decade or so, the state also has cut expenditures for schools, universities and social services significantly. State employee numbers are down, from 89,000 in 2001 to 64,500 last year. […]
All I am saying here is cutting “waste and corruption,” the default budget-cutting option of the public, sure won’t alone erase a $10 billion budget shortfall.