Political Notebook


Could go either way

Republicans in recent years have made a lot of political hay out of structural deficits: When Democrats would announce a balanced budget, Republicans would point out – correctly – that it may be balanced in the sense that spending does not exceed the amount of available money, but only because some of that money was already on hand. In other words, the government was still spending more than it was taking in, a practice that cannot continue for long, and does not address the issue at hand – spending.

Fort Wayne City Councilman John Crawford, R-at-large, has a well-deserved and long-standing reputation as the numbers guy on the council, able to cut through the debate with hard and fast facts. So it was puzzling when he tried to explain away the structural deficit he and other Republican councilmen are calling for in the city budget – they want to use the city’s cash reserves and money from selling the city’s electric utility rather than raise taxes or cut spending. He did it this way:

“Do you have a structural deficit if you have a large amount in a cash reserve that you’re not going to use?” he asked. “You do and you don’t.”