Algae, taxes, and budget deals

Here is today's budget news from across the country....

First, big news from the West Coast: California has a budget deal! Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders have struck an agreement that must now be sold to rank-and-file lawmakers. The plan include no broad based tax increases and relies on deep cuts in spending to erase the deficit. Sounds a little bit like the plan being offered by Senate Republicans in Pennsylvania.....

Meanwhile, another state budget impasse has been settled in Ohio. The deal-- which includes a controversial plan to expanding gambling, cuts in services, and heavy reliance on stimulus dollars-- is not particularly popular with anyone in the state. Is it just me or is the same scenario playing out across the country?

Officials in Kentucky are using the stimulus funding to plug holes in the state budget. The state would have been in the red for this year, but a federal loan for Medicare helped put the books into the black.  Some are questioning moving state dollars earmarked for Medicare into the general fund, but the move allowed Kentucky to avoid drastically reducing services or raising any major taxes.

The Mayor and City Council in Detroit is taking the lead on cutting costs to deal with the $300 million deficit in city finances. Action is expected this week on a proposal that would cut salaries and hours for non-union employees and legislative salaries. That would include people at the top of the food chain...Something our own City Council is still struggling to figure out.

Finally, my favorite budget item comes from Pulaski County in Missouri. Local officials are considering a proposal to deploy...wait for it...carp to deal with a lake that is overflowing with algae. The fish are a cost effective way to clean up the lake without requiring a lot of manpower. Awesome.