You can’t count on me

By AL DIAMON  |  October 24, 2012

But the state had a good month in December 2009. The commission decided the worst was over. It upped its estimate for the next two years by $51 million. After all, this recession thing had to end sometime. Another round of budget tinkering, and the fiscal year wrapped up with a $70 million surplus.

Which got spent in less time than it takes to air the average negative campaign spot.

With the arrival of LePage after the 2010 election, there was a thorough housecleaning at the forecasting commission. LePage wanted experts with the skills to make accurate estimates and researchers who understood the vagaries of economic analysis.

In other words, Chip 'n' Dale.

The projection for fiscal year 2012 was off by $17 million in the wrong direction in July. But up a little in August. Down in September. Up in October. Down. Up. Then, really down in January. The new commissioners (anyone for acorns?) met in February and lowered expectations by $14 million. It was just enough to get the state through another year.

The LePage commission was now convinced it had corrected the misconceptions foisted upon it by its predecessor. It was also convinced a shot of vodka qualifies as a helping of vegetables and Adam Sandler is not a sorry waste of protoplasm. Fiscal year 2013 began with a solid month in July. Then, a less-than-stellar August. Then, a big Baldacci-like clunker in September — $27 million short of predictions.

Might be time for the current mob of 'munks to get a 20,000-mile checkup for their Ouija board. Some Windex on the crystal ball. A new Tarot deck.

Or maybe somebody could just flip a coin. That's not quite as nutty as the current system.

Check the water level in your Magic Eight Ball before emailing the results to

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  Topics: Talking Politics , John Baldacci, Consensus Economic Forecasting Commission, Paul Lepage,  More more >
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