The State Budget Office formulates the projections, and its director says lately the numbers have led to one prevailing feeling in the Statehouse: frustration.
“We just haven’t seen a time like this. And to try to force cast is this environment is a challenge. So you’re constantly trying to find the variables,” Ruhl said.
Chris Ruhl says if trends in the first quarter of Indiana’s new fiscal year continue over the next nine months, the state will miss even updated projections by more than $1 billion and fall more than two billion dollars below original estimates.
Evansville Representative Dennis Avery says state agencies could face further cuts from the budget committee, much like the 10 to 15 percent cuts made over the past year to keep the state budget balanced.
To avoid withholding appropriations in the future, Avery says the state’s method of calculating finances and spending should be revisited.
“Historically they’ve been pretty accurate and they just haven’t been the last three or four years. Part of the problem is in more serious trouble than the governor, the budget agency and the committee believed. We continue to be surprised by the extent of the problems,” Avery said.
The state’s income will have to grow seven percent over the next nine months for the state to meet its goals, a change Avery considers unlikely.