Despite the fact that Bryant said last week that he is confident that he will not have to cut again this calendar year, he and the Legislature are not out of the woods yet when it comes to the state budget. What the governor said is that any potential issues with the budget can be delayed until the Legislature is back in session in January with still about half of the fiscal year left to correct any problems.
And, just to be clear, unless state revenue collections improve in the coming months, there will have to be additional steps taken to deal with the budget for the current year.
The budget problems are caused by two issues. The first and most basic is that state revenue collections are not meeting projections – and for the past fiscal year were actually below the amount collected the previous year for only the fourth time since 1970 and for the first time when the nation was not in a significant recession.
The second reason is that the controversial Budget Transparency and Simplification Act the Legislature passed during the 2016 session to fill some of those budget holes is not working like legislators envisioned. The law was designed to take fees and assessments levied for specific purposes and for specific agencies and put that money in the general fund.