California Governor Jerry Brown just announced that California has a budget surplus!
No, that’s not a joke. I mean, it is a joke, but it’s not funny. After years of deficits as high as $25 billion, he says we’re now in the black—and to keep it that way he’s going to push back against the Democratic legislature that immediately wants to spend more money.
Instead, he declares, he wants to raise spending only…five percent.
“I am determined to avoid the fiscal mess that the last few governors had to deal with,” Brown told reporters as he introduced the budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year beginning in July.
Alas, the budget that he contends is in surplus is based on projections of expected revenues, not on revenues themselves.
The state expects $98.5 billion in revenues and transfers and plans spending $97.7 billion, according to the proposal published on the state Department of Finance website.
The problem, as I pointed out here the other day, is that California’s own controller says that actual revenues are coming in nearly 11 percent below expectations.
So let’s do the math. California adds five percent to current spending that’s already in deficit and brings in 11 percent less than projected….
Nah, never mind. Trying to figure it out makes as much sense as denying a condemned man a cigarette on the grounds that it’s bad for his health.