Tag Archives: balanced

Budget Gimmickry

“Only” out of balance by about $700 million?! (to be fair, $699 million) Yeah, right. Let’s take a look at the gimmicks

Add on $330 million for the prison guard contract offer (the LOWEST estimate available for their salary increase)

Add on $190 million for the overstatement of property tax revenues (per the LAO warning)

Add on $184 million for the overstatement of tribal gaming revenues (ditto)

Add on $603 million for the failure to account for the May-June shortfall (yes, we were $603 million short, but this budget still assumes it was accounted for)

Add on $300 million for the postponement of reimbursements to local governments for mandates (we owe the money, the current budget just pushes them into next year’s budget in order to avoid paying it this year)

Add on $357 million for the acceleration of tobacco securitization funds (the tobacco securitization funds are supposed to pay for the 2008-9 CTA settlement costs, but instead are being accelerated into this budget to pay for general fund spending)

Add on $250 million for the theft of the Williams School Facility Repair funds (we’ll need to repay the ‘loan’ in future years)

Add on $260 million for the EPSDT prior year deficiency deferral

That comes to a $3.173 billion deficit

As if that wasn’t bad enough. We have $2.865 billion  on very shaky ground:

$709 million from escheated property DEFYING A COURT’S ORDER

$200 million for the “limited liability” court case  (state lost the case, will likely lose the apppeal, and LOWEST estimate is $200 million)

$176 million in unallocated reductions (assuming Arnold will make $176 million in unallocated reductions when he’s ignored most unallocated reductions in past budgets)

$300 million for the Medi-Cal FPACT waiver (likely NOT to be renewed this year, so the state will have to make it up)

$980 for the EdFund sale (has not gotten the federal approval it needs, has never been appraised, and real value is likely 1/5 of that)

$500 million for the CalSTRS court order (court order says state has to pay $500 million of $558 million adverse judgment due to its failure to fund CalSTRS. Likely to lose the appeal and will have to make this payment during the budget year)

That is about $2.865 billion, making a MINIMUM of a $6.038 billion deficit

We have a current reserve of about $3.4 billion. We need a LOT more than $700 million in cuts. We should do about $2.9 billion more in cuts, in order to have more than the bare minimum

Where’s the waste?…

Can someone please answer these questions for me:

1. Why does it cost California $42,000 per inmate when it only costs Florida $18,000?

2. Why does it cost California $163,000 per prison bed (building them, that is) when it only costs Michigan $54,000?

3. Why does California have the third highest tax per gallon of gasoline, and ranks 43rd in per capita spending on highways?

4. Why has per pupil spending nearly doubled ($6,000 to $11,500) over the last decade and student achievement has remained stagnant?

5. Why has it cost well over $5 billion and 15 years to retrofit the Bay Bridge when it cost us $1 billion (inflation adjusted) and 5 years to build it from scratch?

Seriously, what are the answers to those questions?