Geoff Pender: Setting budget like untying Gordian knot

Setting a state budget has been relatively easy for lawmakers the last couple of years, but this year is going to be akin to untying the Gordian knot.

I predict this will be one of the toughest state budgets for lawmakers to wrangle since the deepest throes of the Great Recession.

Why? A convergence – a perfect storm – of a sluggish economy, growing needs, deficit spending, cans kicked down the road, partisan fiscal promises and generous tax breaks to businesses in recent years.