Last week, governors and mayors from around the country came to the White House with cups in hand for COVID aid and found a president eager to listen to their pleas of poverty.
“They’ve been working on their own in many cases,” President Joe Biden said, promising to come to the rescue with $350 billion in federal “relief” funds.
It was a good act.
But back home, states across the country are reporting huge surpluses, thanks not only to previous federal COVID handouts (which totaled more than $400 billion) but because tax revenues are surging as the economy rapidly rebounds.
As the City Journal reports, “Undoubtedly some states and cities have faced challenges, but nationwide, state and local governments have seen tax revenue rebound to pre-pandemic levels, even as they have continued to receive a large influx of federal funds.”
Don’t believe it? Look at this sampling from recent news accounts about states’ running budget surpluses, some of them at historic levels, many of them a surprise to local lawmakers.
Arizona: “When the legislature shut down in the spring, there were fears Arizona’s budget deficit would exceed a billion dollars by July 2021. It’s not going to happen. In fact, the state is expecting a $351 million surplus.”
Arkansas: “We are now seven months into the fiscal year and our surplus over forecast is over $400 million.”
California: “Newsom said Friday the state now has a $15 billion surplus, and expects to have a record $22 billion in reserves.”
Connecticut: “In a stunning turnaround, state budget officials predicted Friday that Connecticut will end the fiscal year with a small surplus of $70 million — despite financial problems related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
Idaho: “With our record budget surplus, we are poised to provide Idahoans historic tax relief and make strategic investments … for us and our children.”
Michigan: “A previously expected budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year has vanished because of a boost in federal aid and an improvement in Michigan’s economy that has increased state tax revenue collections above initial forecasts.”
Missouri: “The state’s general revenue account is brimming with cash – $1.8 billion on Dec. 31.”
South Carolina: The state “managed to finish the fiscal year with a surplus of $775 million despite the pandemic-caused economic crisis, the state’s top accountant said Thursday.”
South Dakota: “Gov. Noem went before lawmakers on Tuesday … saying the state has never seen such revenue growth in the last 30 years.”
Tennessee: “The state’s revenue collections for the month of December were higher than budgeted yielding a $156.4 million surplus.”
Utah: “A combination of growth and savings from those budget cuts have given the state $728 million in ongoing general fund/education surpluses and $1.268 billion in extra one-time money.”
Vermont: “Gov. Phil Scott on Tuesday outlined his $6.8 billion budget proposal for the coming year, noting in his annual address to the general assembly that the state was sitting on an unexpected $210 million surplus.”
West Virginia: The state’s “COVID-19 numbers keep getting better and the state budget continues to thrive.”
Wisconsin: “The outlook for Wisconsin’s next state budget grew brighter Tuesday with a closely watched report projecting the state would begin the next budget cycle with a balance of nearly $1.9 billion.”
And, in case you were wondering, New York City “will end the current fiscal year with a $3.62 billion surplus – $258 million more than what Mayor Bill de Blasio’s budget office has estimated, according to the nonpartisan independent Budget Office.” So is Washington, D.C., which “closed out fiscal year 2020 with more than $500 million in surplus, a fact that surprised and drew some criticism from members of the D.C. Council.”
It’s no surprise that states are pleading poverty in hopes of piles of “free” federal cash. The real surprise is that Biden is getting away with yet another big lie to sell his mega $1.9 trillion COVID “relief” bill.
We’ve already exposed others several others. Most recently that the economy is in dire straits (it’s snapped back from last year’s lockdowns) and that help is needed “urgently” (there’s about $1.3 trillion still unspent from previous COVID bills).
All that is happening here is that Democrats are hoping to seize a crisis – one that is well on its way to being over – in order to vastly expand the size, scope, and intrusiveness of the federal government.
The fact that nobody can stop this reckless and dangerous spending splurge should make everyone else worry.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board