Budget Crisis Over?
Governor Ted Strickland and legislative leaders this week will enact the state’s $54 Billion two-year state budget. It has three things: deep cuts, slot machines, a lack of new taxes. But there are serious doubts about whether the plan to put slot machines at the state’s 7 race tracks will pay off as Ted Strickland hopes it will. He projects it will generate some $900 million dollars over the next two years, but The Columbus Dispatch this weekend raised some serious questions about those projections. Delays caused by lawsuits and market forces may keep the state from realizing those revenues.
No matter how successful the racinos are, the budget process will continue for the next two years. The state continues to lose jobs and income tax revenue. Billions of dollars in likely one-time federal stimulus money was used to avoid cuts and taxes this year. State officials no doubt will have to revisit the state budget to keep it in balance.