By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
The state’s next round of budget cuts will require the Legislature to carefully examine what services the state should stop providing, Gov. Mark Gordon said Wednesday.
Gordon, during a news briefing, said the next cuts will start legislators on the difficult job of deciding which state tasks are required by state law and the Constitution.
“The implications of the next set of budget cuts are going to require that the Legislature not pass new laws about new things we’re going to do, but start considering the things they no longer want government to do,” he said. “Those are going to be hard discussions.”
Gordon already cut about $250 million from the state’s two-year budget in August to offset a projected $1.5 billion shortfall in state revenues. However, the cuts were only the first in a series needed to bring state spending in line with revenue projections.
Gordon said revenue projections prepared by state fiscal experts in July showed some unexpected improvement in the revenue picture, and when combined with the cuts he made in August — which amounted to a reduction in state spending of about 10% — things looked a little more promising.
However, he said more cuts will be needed, even as the impacts of the August reductions are being felt.
“There are services that are being decreased,” he said. “There are people who have lost their jobs. There is consolidation that is happening.”
A new report on state revenues is expected next week and Gordon said it will help state officials get a decent idea of what must be done going forward.