We Need More Fiscal Honesty in the Minnesota State Budget Forecast

If I told Carly that we should stay in our house for another 5 years because it will be worth more when we go to sell it, she’d probably counter with something like, “But won’t houses we’re trying to buy also be more expensive in 5 years?” Touché.

Sadly, this logic doesn’t seem to apply to the Pawlenty administration who’s budget forecasts take the benefits of increased revenues into consideration while ignoring increased future expenses caused by inflation.

State Budget Forecast: Little Has Changed, in More Ways Than One

Leaving inflation out of the forecast helped create expectations of a budget surplus for the next biennium that does not exist. Putting it back in will help the media give an honest picture of the state’s finances and help the public understand what’s realistic – whether they want to spend more or cut taxes.

Charlie Quimby has more on this topic here:

Indeed, how to handle inflation is shaping up to be a legislative struggle — even with a DFL majority in both houses. Right now the state factors inflation when projecting how much revenue will come in. But departments can’t estimate the impact of inflation when planning how much they’ll need to spend in future years.

This budget process, mandated by law in 2002, has two possible effects, both creating downward pressure on spending. 1.Inflated revenues appear to exceed deflated spending estimates. This spurious surplus supports the notion that we’re taxed too much. 2. Departments and programs are funded at less than actual costs, forcing cuts that aren’t directly traceable to the politicians who caused them.

Come on, Pawlenty. Try running the state like you’d run your own household’s budget.

Male Practice Players for Women’s Sports

Thanks to Governor Tim Pawlenty’s underfunding of transit in Minnesota in an attempt to maintain his “no new taxes, and . . . um . . . fees aren’t taxes” pledge, I was feathering my clutch across town this evening listening to Bumper to Bumper with Barrerio on KFAN where I heard about a Star Tribune story abotu teh NCAA’s interest in banning male players from practicing with women’s teams:

Women’s basketball: NCAA rethinks battle of sexes

“But last month, the NCAA’s Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA) called for a ban on male practice players. It concluded the custom violates the spirit of gender equity and Title IX, the 1972 federal law banning sex discrimination in sports.”

Imagine if your daughter was a kick-ass basketball player. Do you think it would be easy for her to find other kick-ass women players at her level who could push her to make her the best player she could be. Now, imagine what it must be like for the women at the University of Minnesota, who are the best dozen women basketball players within hundreds of miles. Luckily for those great athletes, there are local basketball players who can push them to improve: guys. And they’ll work for free.

The NCAA doesn’t seem to realize that women’s sports have reached a point where they’re established and well beyond numbers and participation. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions to that last statement, but it doesn’t change the fact that limiting the competitiveness of women’s practices actually HURTS the competitiveness of women’s sports rather than helping them.