While so much attention has been centered on how much money American taxpayers are going to borrow to bail out bad mortgage loans, a much quieter meltdown in municipal bonds looms as a fresh, new crisis for Frankfort.
The 2009-10 state budget authorized more than $1.5 billion in new bonded debt for Frankfort and it will be interesting in the current environment to find out how much of that has already been issued. The reality is that we are out of the debt accumulation business for a while.
Spending prioritization, which has been largely avoided over decades of rapidly increasing state budgets, is about to be forced on our state government.
Gov. Steve Beshear’s recent scheme to expand entitlement spending on top of his cigarette tax increase lobbying make little sense now. His casino gambling plan may see renewed interest, but the experience of other states strongly suggests finding a way to limit increased entitlement spending that goes with the casinos needs to be worked out first.
Real spending cuts can’t wait. Ending overpaying for school building projects and overpaying for medical services need to be seriously discussed by public servants who can put the taxpayers ahead of special-interest groups.