"Really, for the moment, we have punted in this forecast," he said.
OK, that's honest. Still stupid, though.
What the revenue forecasters tried to downplay in their report is that sales tax collections — that's actual money the state has taken in, not guesses about how much it'll collect in the months ahead — are still running below all the experts' finest prognostications. That means people aren't buying much. Which means businesses aren't selling much. Which ought to cause anybody with the brains of a gubernatorial candidate spouting off about Christians on an Aroostook County radio station to conclude that the recession is a long way from over.
In past economic downturns, sales-tax revenue has rebounded before other factors. The increase in retail activity lead to more income for stores, which resulted in more orders to factories, which caused more businesses to start hiring, which caused income-tax collections to increase.
There's no sign of that in Maine. Until there is, believing in $51 million in new money is just . . . stupid.
Maine shouldn't risk operating with imaginary cash. The state also doesn't need the "bold approach" of soaking beleaguered taxpayers, as advocated by pass-the-buck specialists in York County. The Legislature ought to be cautious in accepting Democratic Governor John Baldacci's proposal to squander the entire $51-million windfall, perhaps even going so far as to budget less than is expected, on the off chance things don't improve.
Sorry, Bill Beardsley. That means Maine can't to afford to import extra Christians.
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