$400 million-plus error in the Horner budget


Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner would balance the FY 2012-13 state budget primarily through a net increase in state sales taxes, reductions in state aid to counties (which counties could apparently recoup all or in part through an additional local sales tax increase), new “racino” revenues, additional cuts and “redesign savings,” and through delay of the state repayment of education funding shifts.

However, there is a problem with the last piece of this budget balancing plan.  The Horner budget document lists $1.8 billion in savings from delaying the state repayment of school education funding shifts.  In fact, delaying the shift repayment would only save the state $1.371 billion – $429 million less than what is anticipated in the Horner budget document.

This is the second error that the Horner campaign has made related to the school aid funding shift.  In June Minnesota Public Radio’s “PoliGraph” determined that Horner incorrectly asserted that the projected state budget deficit for the FY 2012-13 biennium would be $9 billion – significantly larger than the actual deficit, even after taking into account the effects of inflation.  PoliGraph concluded that Horner was “double-counting what the state owes schools” as a result of the aid payment shift, thereby overstating the magnitude of the state budget deficit in FY 2012-13.

The $429 million hole in the Horner budget would presumably have to be made up for through additional expenditure cuts or through additional increases in sales taxes or other state revenue.