Storms Forecast

The Oak Ridge Schools budget was approved three weeks ago, with presentation to City Council delayed until Monday so that we could get bids in for bus service beforehand — just to make sure that one or more of the bids would come in close enough to our budgeted amount to make it work.  It looks like it will.

Unless, of course, there’s a significant change in projected revenue from the State (BEP funds).

The State Funding Board met this week to revise revenue forecasts, and the news was not good.  From the Tennessean:

The State Funding Board delivered grim economic forecasts on Thursday indicating that the state could have to cut up to $384 million in spending this year and shed up to $585 million from next year’s budget.

The board met to approve final revenue estimates that will be central to budget revisions in coming weeks. The board, which provides a range of estimates, said taxes will increase between a low of 0.25 percent and 1 percent this year, and between 1.25 percent and 1.75 percent next year.

State Finance and Administration Commissioner Dave Goetz said that translates into $315 million to $384 million in cuts to this year’s budget. Next year’s budget, which was introduced in January, will have to be reduced between $468 million and $585 million.

"A budget gap of that size will require us to look at everything," he said.

Preliminary indications are that the Governor and our local legislators will try to protect K-12 funding, although the teacher pay raises may not survive the cuts at the State level.

In a related cloudburst, some folks are upset that some graphs presented in the Funding Board’s meeting were not handed over to the press.  We do have an open records law, but it’s not immediately obvious if these particular pictorals fall under that category.  In any case, the same information is probably found in this report.

I think we’ll all feel a sense of relief when the Legislature passes a budget and goes home.   Unless, of course, they deviate substantially from the funding estimates provided to school systems last month, which could be the budgetary equivalent of a tree falling on the house in the midst of a late-Spring storm.

3 Responses to “Storms Forecast”

  1. on 02 May 2008 at 8:54 am Jacket

    Ironic, a budget shortfall posted article immediately after a post regarding a “Sales Tax Holiday”. Giving a break in Sales Tax, the major source of State Revenue that is already falling due to a downturn in consumerism, really assists in this budget crisis,helps schools, and assures that State Employees will not be laid off, not!

  2. on 02 May 2008 at 10:54 am Netmom

    You’re right, of course. The sales tax holiday doesn’t really provide much of a break to consumers, and does hurt the state budget.

  3. on 02 May 2008 at 1:27 pm Jacket

    Which in turn hurts all of our pet projects that receive money from the State. I am reasonably sure before the legislature approved the tax free days there was an analysis of the costs in terms of Revenue. But they also were comfortable with the revenue projections when they passed the Budget. Times in the State Budget situation are uncertain. One solution is to basically keep substantially the same budge at FY 07/08 w/o new programs and see if growth would take care of the downturn and then make adjustments mid year. But it is an off year election for the State.

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