State budget shortfall tops $3 billion
By Shaun Boyd
In just two months, the COVID19 crisis has caused the state’s general fund budget to go from a $27 million surplus to an $893 million deficit.
“What has transpired over last two months unimaginable,” the legislature’s chief economist told budget writers.
The coming year’s revenue forecast is even worse. In all, lawmakers need to cut $3.3 billion from the budget and the options are limited. K-12 education accounts for 36 percent of the budget and higher education accounts for another 9 percent.
“Almost half of our general fund budget goes to education, so if we were to look at all other departments, it still wouldn’t be enough,” said Senator Rachel Zenzinger, a member of the Budget Committee.