Sunday, July 20, 2003
Five Letters To Health and Happiness

They are among the five most powerful letters in the English-speaking world. C-o-u-l-d. With these letters, you can climb mountains ('I could have done that'), romance the rich and famous ('I could have had him/her'), and wheedle your way into a state pension.

Eric "the good Eric" Kriss, pronounced fiscal years 2003 and 2004 the worst since the Great Depression. The state's "immediate budget woes" were so bad Kriss said the FY2003 shortfall *could* be hundreds of millions of dollars." (source: Boston Globe, 12/5/2002)

Cynical observers of Team Reform suggested that Kriss *could* have over-stated the revenue problem to let the Fraud Governor look better than he *should* when things turned out better than expected. (source: Boston Globe, 12/22/2002) The administration lent credibility to this theory when they began stonewalling requests for clarifying budgetary information. House Ways and Means Chairman John Rogers said Romney's budget analysts were told ''do not respond to legislative requests'' or they would be ''terminated.'' (Associated Press, 7/7/2003)

But we at RiaF had other reasons to doubt "the good Eric's" good word; he has a history of mining dark linings out of silver clouds. For example, in January 1992, Kriss henny-pennied that revenues *could* come in 40 percent below estimates. Three months later, he admitted his estimate *had* been off by more than 55 percent. (source: Boston Globe, 4/8/1992)

But that's ancient history. Today we focus on current history. Fiscal 2003 has officially come to a close. It's time to see if Kriss has improved his revenue-shortfall-projection abilities.

According to Kriss, the Commonwealth ended fiscal 2003 with budget surplus of $133 million dollars. What!? What happened to the hundreds-of-million-dollar shortfall?

"We ended in balance," Kriss mumbled. (source: Boston Globe, 7/7/2003)

Chin up, Eric. Next fiscal year *could* be worse.


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