Katherine Barrett is a principal at Barrett and Greene, Inc., and a correspondent and columnist for Governing magazine. Along with Richard Greene, she is the founding author of the B&G Report, and a consultant to the Pew Center on the States.
When state legislators and governors talk about the care with which they keep their states fiscally sound, they frequently refer to the mandate that they pass a balanced budget- -- a requirement in all states except Vermont. Every dollar spent is presumably balanced against a dollar coming in. This sounds pretty good in theory. Who could get into fiscal troubles with a system like that?