Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Another example of tweaking budget projections

It appears that VTA is teaching the Santa Clara County the fine art of tweaking budget projections to justify a new sales tax.

Over the last six years, VTA has nearly perfected the fine art of tweaking tax revenue projections to sell sales taxes. Fortuately for the last few months, politicians in the north and south county rejected a new upwardly revised tax revenue projection for a proposed VTA sales tax. However with Measure A this June, the county government appears to forgo its more prudent financial planning and adopting VTA's approach of issuing new budget projection to demostrate its funding "needs."

Instead of over-projecting tax revenue, the county is over-projecting its budget deficit by adding in projected deficit of the county's hospital system to its general funds deficit, which the county did not back in February. According to the Mercury News, the new projected deficit for 2008 is now nearly matches the projected tax revenue from Measure A.

Could it be a motive to try to increase support for Measure A, or could it be a first sign of the anticipated food fight between the county and SVLG over spending priorities if Measure A passes? The fact that the county revealed its new projection in less than a month from election, instead of in February, should raise a red flag. Either way, this is another reason why we should vote no on Measure A.

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