Why Not Use Last Year’s Budget?

John Seiler:

Is California sliding into the Pacific Ocean? Are there riots in the streets? Are Californians starving to death?

None of the above.

Then the solution to the state budget problem is simple: Just rinse and repeat the fiscal 2011-12 state budget, which ends June 30, for the following year’s budget, fiscal 2012-13, which begins July 1.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal increases spending $6 billion, while imposing $7 billion in new taxes to pay for it. The Legislative Analyst says the real tax intake would be $4.8 billion.

Either way, why not just cancel the higher spending and the higher taxes Brown wants to pay for it? Just keep on chooglin’ with with the current budget.

Of course, then Brown couldn’t shift into Gov. Moonbeam Mode and push his “bold moves,” as Katy Grimes reported, on High-Speed Rail, alternative energy and water. He’d just be an accountant who could take a vacation.

But that’s what the state needs. We’ve had “bold moves” from too many governors who now are in retirement after they left the state broke.

The toll is seen in a state debt that, as tallied by Dan Walters. The debt now totals something like $1 trillion. He wrote, “Brown’s budget pegs the state’s pension debt at $45.2 billion and retiree health care at $59.9 billion, but independent estimates of the pension gap have ranged as high as a half-trillion dollars, depending on assumption of future investment earnings. In all, state and local governments may be a trillion dollars in debt, equal to half of California’s annual economic output.”

And here’s a final point: What if Silicon Valley, whose billionaires pay so much of the state tax bill, finally get sick of Taxifornia, and decamp for Reno — with no state income tax — keeping only their vacation beach houses in California?

Jan. 10, 2012


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