By Katy Grimes │ Cal Watchdog
SACRAMENTO — Balancing the economic realities of the state budget with political influences surely is a challenging task. Unfortunately, in California it is a task which few administrations have managed in recent state history.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown announced Tuesday morning that despite a state budget surplus, his May budget revision included projected lower budget figures for fiscal year 2013-14, which begins on July 1, than for the previous fiscal year. The reasons are one-time revenue surges because of federal tax changes that last only one year; and the retroactive part of the Proposition 30 tax increase for 2012.
The result will be less program spending, but with most of the spending increases focused on schools and Medi-Cal.
“We have climbed out of a hole with a Proposition 30 tax,” Brown said, referring to his 2012 initiative which increased taxes on those with incomes exceeding $250,000; and increased sales taxes on everyone. “This is not the time to break out the Champagne,” said Brown, who still called for caution despite an uptick in the state’s revenues.
“I am pleased that for the first time since I was elected to the Legislature we are not confronted with a multi-billion-dollar-deficit,” Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Nigel, said in a statement. “But let’s be clear, that is a result of a questionable retroactive tax that has accounted for the current projected surplus. I believe we can all agree that excessive spending and dubious budgetary gimmicks of this and previous governors have placed undue stress on California families.”
But the “surplus” is thin. Finance Director Anna Matosantos said it’s only a $2.8 billion “surplus” in the $96 billion 2013-14 budget.