State Representative B.J. Pak of Gwinnett County has a post up on his facebook page questioning the wisdom of the fiscal cliff resolution and the additional 2 month delay of resolving sequestration and federal budgetary issues. He openly questions how in this era of – say it with me – uncertainty that the legislature is supposed to be able to do it’s job:
“…I will withhold judgment until end of February to see if the spending cuts were worth the sacrificial lambs, but as a State legislator, I must ask Congress this: By kicking the vote of the sequestration rule down to sometime in Mid-March and coupling it with the debt ceiling debate, how do you expect state legislatures to balance our budget by Day 40 without knowing how much the states are going to get for federal programs? I suggest we convene, and then recess until they pass the budget, and then reconvene the session.”
He has a valid concern. The state legislature is limited to 40 business days and don’t have the luxury of continuously extending deadlines. Every time a can is kicked in DC, it affects the state’s limited timeframe to determine what funds will and won’t be coming back from Washington as they try to plan a budget that runs from July 2013 to June 2014. If there are cuts in funds to states that occur in February or March, the legislators approving a budget will have limited time to react. If the can is kicked again….special session?