Consensus Forecasting Group Revealed!

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The latest Kentucky Gazette in my office mailbox (dated August 13, 2008--the word latest is relative), has an excellent article on the Kentucky Consensus Forcasting Group, the bipartisan collection of economists that monitor the state's revenues and the economy on the joint behalf of the govenor and legislature. This quiet, if not exactly secretive group, was formally established by law (KRS 48.115) in 1994 (after a period of informal existance) to make sure that the branches could spend their time squabbling over how to spend Kentucky's money, not over how much money there was to spend.

The group is made up of seven distiguished economists chosen jointly by the state budget director (currently Mary E. Lassiter) and the Legislative Research Commission. The group is staffed by the LRC but works closely with the state budget director who convenes the group in the fall and winter in the year before the even-year budget session of the legislature, and as called by the governor. The group monitors three factors: state sales-tax receipts, state property tax revenues (which together make up the bulk of the commonwealth's revenues), and the nation's economy. As the Kentucky Gazette article shows, their predicting record is pretty good, with the wild card being the national economy.

With the the economy stalled, housing prices dropping and the stock market on free-fall, it may be of interest to know who these professionals are, so I'll list them with links to existing bios, if I can find them:

  • Chair, Dr. Lawrence K. Lynch (apptd. 1994; emeritis prof. of econ. Transylvania U; tax expert & consultant to LRC since 1975)
  • Dr. James R. McCabe (apptd. 1996; assoc. prof. finance at UofL; former chair of UofL econ. dept. & member of faculty since 1973. Research are is market forecasting; see CV)
  • Dr. James F. O'Connor (apptd. 1996; prof. econ. EKU; chair of econ. dept, 1989-97; expert in econometric modeling; see EKU webpage)
  • Maria Gerwing Hampton (apptd. 2007; vp & senior branch exec. Louisville br. of Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; banking exec. at Linerty Nat'l\Bank One Ky for 26 years; see FRB bio)
  • Dr. Bruce K. Johnson (apptd. 2007; prof. econ. Centre College; see faculty webpage)
  • Dr. David E. Wildasin (apptd. 2007; endowed prof. public finance & econ at UK's Martin School of Public Policy; see faculty webpage with links to bio & CV)
  • Dr. Virginia (Ginny) Wilson (apptd. 2007; adj. prof.at UK's Martin School of Public Policy; retired from LRC after years as economist for legislature)
Photo: Bruce K. Johnson, faculty webpage, Centre College