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California Budget Deficit is Even Worse than Gov. Newsom Initially Projected

California Budget Deficit is Even Worse than Gov. Newsom Initially Projected

In contrast, Florida Gov. DeSantis announces plans to expedite 20 major road projects across Florida using his state’s budget surplus.

Earlier this year, I reported that the fiscal situation is so dire in California that Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes cutting billions of dollars in climate spending and delaying funding of major programs to balance a $22.5 billion budget deficit if tax revenues don’t rebound.

It seems the deficit is even larger than initially projected.

Last month, Newsom announced that California faces a projected budget deficit of $22.5 billion for the coming fiscal year. The figure represented a striking downturn from last year, when the state enjoyed a surplus of about $100 billion due to federal COVID relief and surging capital gains.

While the predicted year-to-year drop-off seemed large, it may not have been large enough.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), a government agency that analyzes the budget for the state legislature, estimates in a report published last week that Newsom’s forecast undershot the mark by about $7 billion, thanks to about $10 billion less in tax revenues than expected.

“In particular, using recent revenue collections and economic data, we estimate there is a two‑in‑three chance that state revenues will be lower than the governor’s budget estimates for 2022‑23 and 2023‑24,” writes Gabe Patek, the legislature’s budget analyst. “Our best estimate is that revenues for these two years will be roughly $10 billion lower — implying a larger budget problem by about $7 billion.”

There are many contributing factors to the plunge in revenues.

California’s top income-tax rate is 13.3% on earners making more than $1 million. The top 0.5% of California taxpayers pay 40% of state income taxes. Volatile equity prices and layoffs at Silicon Valley companies are hitting capital gains. Companies are also cutting bonuses.

Corporate tax revenue came in about 20% lower in January than during the previous year, no doubt in part because of declining profits at big tech companies. But it’s also possible that the accelerating exodus of companies from the state may be contributing.

…The state experienced a historic $102 billion surplus in the last two fiscal years from federal Covid relief and surging capital gains, which it used to expand entitlement programs and increase climate spending. But LAO notes that “while revenues are moderating from the recent peak, they are still above average historical levels” and “even after adjusting for inflation, anticipated revenues for 2023-24 remain about 20 percent higher than before the pandemic.”

In other words, the state doesn’t have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. There’s nothing new under the Sacramento sun.

The lack of funds may put a damper on the reparations frenzy.

…California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) created his own Reparations Task Force, which just reached its own recommendations for $223,000 per person. Others have insisted the figure should be $350,000 for individuals and another $250,000 for Black-owned businesses. One California politician insisted the figure needs to be $800,000 per person, reflecting the average cost of a home in the state.

As these numbers rise, so do the calls for payments in both politics and the media. Even Disney has gotten into the act with a controversial children’s episode in which cartoon children demand reparations.

It may also put a damper on Newsom’s presidential aspirations.

One last note: Newsom likes to contrast himself with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. In comparison, DeSantis has recently announced his administration is moving forward with a proposal to expedite 20 major interstate and roadway projects across the state of Florida in the next four years.

DeSantis said the “Moving Florida Forward” initiative will help some projects finish up to 10 years ahead of schedule and will be paid for through Florida’s budget surplus.

Just in this year, we’re going to put in $4 billion from our budget surplus to be in these key projects. We’re also going to dedicate $134 million each year to the State Transportation Work Program to further support and then because we have such a high credit rating, they’re going to be able to leverage that money that we put in for even more so the total is going to be about $7 billion over four years, which is really, really significant,” DeSantis said during a news conference in Polk County.


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Liberal Playbook: All money is the governments.

California insurance commissioner has been denying rate change requests from insurance carriers. Several are on the verge of pulling out.

I know Wa’s insurance commisioner has declared a culture war on carriers as well.

In contrast- Florida suffers from a different problem- the level of fraud from contractors doing repairs is over the top. So much so that many carriers are pulling out of florida.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Andy. | February 22, 2023 at 4:40 pm

    Seeing what I have over the years I wonder if there is an honest contractor left.

      Depends how you measure honest. Government specifications are often so arbitrary, excessive, and irrational that contractors who don’t play the game sideways can’t survive.

Note that the instinctive response to having a budget surplus in CA was an immediate spending frenzy, NOT directing the funds to pay off pending bonds and debts, reform CALPERS, investing in existing construction projects that were hurting for funds, buying needed infrastructure with water and road projects that had been shorted before, et al… Meanwhile many states in flyover country are having budget surpluses this year by actually focusing on governmental needs, not wants.

CA focused its tax collection on rich people without realizing these rich people can *leave* and did.

The ‘rona lockdowns lifted; their deficit increased — management by their econ ministry they loose money on each thing they do.

Not to worry. They’ll make it up in volume.

Newsom inherited a 100 billion dollar surplus and ran it into the ground. So much for his gubernatorial skills.

    henrybowman in reply to | February 22, 2023 at 5:02 pm

    But he’s a telegenic young man, and California has a lot of public access channels. I’d advise him to solicit love offerings from the citizenry. They really work. I have a maiden aunt in California who’s a whiz on the harmonium, she could provide him some background music that will up his take another 10%.

The average home in California is $800,000? How much of that is cost of government? Government policies have driven up those costs.

MisterSadFaceMcGee | February 22, 2023 at 4:33 pm

What a stark contrast of fiscal solvency between a state with insanely high income taxes vs a state with no income taxes.

    But the contrast has a dark side.
    Last weekend, my almost 105-yo mother in Florida was deploring to me that “all these people from California” were moving in and skyrocketing home and rental prices. “You can’t afford to live here anymore!” One of her slacker granddaughters who hasn’t held a job in 25 years had to pull up stakes and move to (shudder) Darkest Arkansas just to survive. I didn’t want to tell her that at least all her new neighbors vote exactly like she does.

Imagine what Newsom could do to the federal budget!

Subotai Bahadur | February 22, 2023 at 6:21 pm

One of the greater certainties of government is that when a Leftist regime announces a budget deficit, that announcement will severely understate the shortfall and have to be revised many times.

That said, I did not know what Andy told us about problems with insurance in California. If a significant fraction of insurance carriers pull out, the state economy is scrod. In a modern economy, especially under a Leftist regime, one cannot safely conduct business without insurance coverage. Which means businesses shut down and government revenue collapses.

Subotai Bahadur

I’ve been chuckling all afternoon at AOC outpolling Newsom. How I wish they’d have thrown in a potted plant for balance – or Fetterman – same dif.

Due to a combination of ballot fraud, non-existent political opposition, and voter apathy Newsom will never be held accountable. If anything, he will fall upwards: a Cabinet post, a US Senate seat, or even the White House.