A few days ago, Simple in France wrote an interesting post on her somewhat schizoid nature: pinching pennies here, indulging in luxuries there. I am similarly schizoid, I suppose: even in graduate school, when there were few pennies, I spent a lot on good coffee and parmesan cheese!
But my schizoid mood comes from the news. With the economy getting better, I have begun to peek at my statements as they arrive in the mail. Till recently, I threw them into a shoebox, unopened. What do I see? Not great, of course, but not gut-wrenching.
Then I look at the news online and see this: "State must cut $319 million from budget over next 10 weeks."
This dire headline is followed by some specifics: Senate President Joel Chaisson II, D-Destrehan, said the upcoming cuts could have a "devastating effect" on health care and higher education programs, which are almost certain to be targeted because they are the largest unprotected parts of the state budget.
While mid-year shortfalls are nothing new in state government, the current situation is unusual both because of the size of the hole and the timing. It's the second time this year that the state budget will have to be adjusted downward, coming on the heels of $248 million in cuts in December.
The last time the budget faced two mid-year shortfalls was in 2002-03. But several veteran Capitol observers could not recall a time when a shortfall of this size materialized so late in the fiscal year.
Is anyone else experiencing similar lurches from relief to panic?