Writing in City Journal, Steven Malanga looks at state budget games. An excerpt:
Not all of the state budget trickery involves borrowing; some of it simply betrays pledges to taxpayers. One common example is “sweeps,” a term that refers to shifting money from adequately funded accounts into depleted ones. In some cases, the revenues that get “swept” come from taxes and fees that politicians had promised would pay for specific tasks—maintaining roads, say, or improving emergency services, or even paying for unemployment insurance. With the transfers, however, the money gets used for something entirely different.