Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge says the state is "in a good place" and there won’t be a need for dramatic action to balance the state budget in the last few weeks of the fiscal year.
"We of course had done a lot of cutting and we think we are at a place where we will be able to finish this year and go into the next budget with the books balanced," Judge says.
The state’s 2009 fiscal year ends June 30th. In December, Governor Culver ordered an across-the-board cut in the state budget when state tax collections began sagging significantly. A new analysis shows net state tax receipts fell nearly 12-and-a-half percent in May, creating what could be a more than $100-million shortfall in the state budget.
House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen says Governor Culver and his fellow Democrats have "spent too much and cut too little." Judge defends her fellow Democrats.
"There has been a lot of austerity, so I think we’re in a good place," Judge says. "We will continue to look closely at the numbers. The Department of Management will and, if necessary, we’ll make adjustments, but I don’t believe that we’re there today."
The governor has the authority to dip into the state’s cash reserve to balance the current year’s state budget if tax revenues continue to lag.
"We could call the legislature back and do something different yet (this month), but I do not believe and I know the governor does not believe that that’s necessary," Judge says. "We think that we have made the cuts we need to make and that we’ll finish this fiscal year in the black and that we have a good budget going into the next one."
The House Republican Leader charges Culver and Democrats who control the legislature have created two budgets "that are likely out of balance."