The news media throughout the state is virtually unanimous in reporting Gov. Perdue’s 2010-11 recommended state spending plan as a “$19 billion budget.” For example, see here, here and here.
The actual spending on state programs, however, is much higher.
For starters, there was $1.04 billion in federal stimulus funding embedded in last year’s biennial budget effective for 2010-11. The spending is listed as “cuts,” but is really just the state temporarily shifting part of the financing of these programs to the federal stimulus money. That brings actual spending on state programs up to $19.15 B + $1.04 B = $20.19 B
There is another $578 million in phantom “cuts” in the Governor’s proposal for 2010-11, bringing real spending up to: $20.19 B + $0.578 B = $20.77 B
Backing out the $101 million the Gov. proposes to set aside in the state’s Rainy Day Fund still leaves $20.67 B in actual spending, a far cry from the $19.1 billion being reported by the media.
Moreover, the Governor’s proposal actually included more expansion recommendations than reductions. Excluding the phantom cuts that will be back-filled with federal dollars, Perdue proposes $957 million in reductions to the 2010-11 budget, while itemizing $1.1 billion in additional spending.
Be sure to keep these facts in mind when hearing reports about all the massive “cuts” to the state budget.