As state lawmakers try to decide what to cut to address the state's massive budget shortfall, you would think that a program that costs $5.85 billion a year would be worth some attention, especially if its cost rose roughly 40 percent from 2005 to 2009.
But while budget subcommittees are considering firing teachers and abolishing programs for at-risk kids, no panel is spending any time looking at the $5.85 billion worth of tax expenditures the state makes every year.
It won't require a lot of research. There's a list readily available to lawmakers, complied every two years by the Department of Revenue. The 2005 report found that the expenditures cost the state $3.57 billion. The 2009 report came up with the $5.85 billion figure. That's a $1.38 billion increase. Surely that's worth a subcommittee meeting or two.
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