I was reading this NYT article about standardized testing when I had a thought:
If you can make the test harder or easier to score political points, why not do the same thing to help you with budgeting?
Just set up a merit pay system for teachers based on test scores. If the economy is good and the state fills its coffers, make the tests easier and pay out to the teachers. When the economy sucks, make the test tougher, and you'll spend less in teacher salaries. Simple!
(You know I'm joking, right?)