In six weeks, Kentucky’s Finance and Administration Cabinet is required by law to report how much extra debt the state had accumulated by June 30.
You won’t find that information reported in the media and you won’t find it on the appropriate state site that hasn’t been updated in more than three years.
In contrast, state government started talking up having a budget surplus for the fiscal year ending June 30 at the beginning of May. Breathless news reports speculated how large the surplus might be for three months before breathlessly reporting at the end of July the official number: a $156 million surplus for the year.
We can speculate without any fear of contradiction that the state increased its debt by several times that amount during the fiscal year to finance regular, ongoing government functions.
But we can’t prove it till the end of September. And, even then, we will have to dig to find the information. And the media won’t report on it at all.
And leaders of both major political parties in Frankfort will ignore the true measurement of our fiscal health because claiming credit for coming together and “balancing” budgets is a bipartisan game.
The idea of proudly claiming solvency because you have money in your checking account while running up a much larger credit card balance would only be entertaining to people who enjoy playing hide-and-seek all by themselves.