Conservative radio hosts weakly clarify “projected” versus “actual” state spending

It’s one thing for Tea Party talk-radio hosts to assault my ear drums with noise about the federal budget deficit. I can handle that.

But my head starts to spin when they say Colorado has a budget deficit, forgetting the small detail that we have a state constitution that specifically disallows deficit spending.

Last week (5/17), for example, the angry guys on KLZ’s Grassrooots Colorado (560 AM, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) stated:

Co-host Ken Clark: The state of Wisconsin has a budget deficit. Until Walker took over they were running a budget deficit. Same is true for California. Same is true for Colorado. Same is true for New York. Probably better than 30-40 states are running a budget deficit. There are a very few that are in the black.

Co-host Jason Worley: I think there are between three and five that are in the black.

Actually, a majority of states are in the black, like CO.

So I emailed Worley to ask that he correct his erroneous statement on his next show.

“I’m gonna run with facts as I research them,” he replied via email. “Given, we adjusted spending, but see attached.  Also Tell Sen Heath we don’t have a deficit.”

He sent me a link showing that Colorado and other states have projected deficits but failing to prove his point that Colorado  is actually running a deficit.

I pointed this out to Worly in an email, and he responded:

I noted on the show yesterday that we said budget deficit, not deficit spending.  I get the subtle difference, but it should be noted that if revenue changes in a negative direction all that work means nothing.  We will be more precise in the words we choose.

On the air, Worley said he got a “fact-check” email from me noting that Colorado is not “deficit spending” and that he replied to me by saying, “no, we have a budget deficit; I understand the structural differences between the two, thank you.”

Not exactly the correction and explanation you’d want, but it’s something. I’m waiting for Worley and Clark’s on-air explanation of projected versus actual spending at the state level.

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