Delay in Data Drop; governor’s website crashes

Governor Chet Culver’s staff was to release details of the budget-cutting plans state agency directors submitted yesterday “by 11 o’clock” this morning, but it’s 11:27 a.m. and nothing has been released yet.  The governor’s website seems to have crashed, too, as a “Service Temporarily Unavailable” due to “maintenance downtime or capacity problems” is the notice one gets when trying to surf there at 11:16 a.m. and again, at 11:28 a.m. 

Via Twitter, Culver’s staff posted this last night:

Gov. Culver, Lt. Gov. Judge meeting late into night to review plans to cut state budget by 10%; details released tomorrow morning at 11:00.

However, at least one agency — the Department of Corrections — has scheduled a news conference this afternoon to discuss the cuts managers in the Department of Corrections propose.

Also yesterday, Phil Roeder, Culver’s deputy chief of staff, emailed the following “in anticipation” of today’s document drop and all the stories that will be written about state budget cuts in Iowa.

Recession Continues To Batter State Budgets; State Responses Could Slow Recovery

by Elizabeth McNichol and Nicholas Johnson

The worst recession since the 1930s has caused the steepest decline in state tax receipts on record. As a result, even after making very deep cuts, states continue to face large budget gaps. 
 Mid-year shortfalls have opened up in 26 states totaling $16 billion or 4 percent of these budgets.  These new shortfalls are in addition to the gaps states closed when adopting their fiscal year 2010 budgets earlier this year.
 Counting both initial and mid-year shortfalls, 48 states have addressed or still face such shortfalls in their budgets for fiscal year 2010, totaling $179 billion or 26 percent of state budgets — the largest gaps on record.
 Fiscal year 2011 gaps total $80 billion or 14 percent of budgets for the 35 states that have estimated the size of these gaps.  These totals are likely to grow as revenues continue to deteriorate, and may well exceed $180 billion.
View the full report: 10pp.

An Update on State Budget Cuts
At least 41 states plus the District of Columbia are enacting cuts in major areas of state services, including:
 Health care (27 states),
 Services to the elderly and disabled (24 states and the District of Columbia),
 K-12 education (25 states and the District of Columbia), and
 Higher education (34 states)
States are making these cuts because tax revenue has dramatically declined as a result of the recession and budget reserves are largely drained.  These cuts, in turn, will make the recession worse because families and businesses have less to spend in their local economies.  Federal recovery act dollars and funds raised from tax increases are greatly reducing the extent, severity, and economic impact of these cuts, but only to a point.

View the full report:  12pp.

Policy Points: Recession Still Causing Trouble for States
This snapshot of state budget problems has been updated to reflect the new data on state budget cuts and shortfalls included in the above analyses.
View the full report:  3pp.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.