Typically the legislature meets in joint session only for major events – such as the Governor’s State of the State Address. But this year is anything but typical:
“This is not a test of your emergency budget broadcast system. This is the real deal.”
That’s HD Palmer with the state’s Department of Finance. During the session, lawmakers will hear from the Finance Director, as well as the Treasurer, Controller and Legislative Analyst. And they’ll pepper the experts with questions about the deficit – which some analysts estimate will grow to 28 billion dollars over the next year and a half. In November, lawmakers failed to act to balance the budget. Palmer says every day the difficulty in solving the problem grows:
“The delay in taking action in November means that the value of the savings that the Governor put forward have been eroded. So, because we’ve had a delay in the implementation of those solutions, this is a case where time literally is money.”
Palmer notes that the state could run out of cash in March if lawmakers don’t act quickly. He says that could mean schools or businesses would get I-O-U’s rather than checks from the state.The Governor has called lawmakers into a special session to force them to tackle the shortfall. Legislative leaders say they hope to have a deal before Christmas.