By Dan Walters
Published: Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Gov. Jerry Brown’s campaign for Proposition 30, his sales and income tax increase, more or less promised voters that it would solve the state’s chronic budget problems.
It was a somewhat specious contention, although apparently an effective one, since voters did pass the measure.
Scarcely a week later, though, we were told by the Legislature’s budget analyst, Mac Taylor, that there’s still a deficit in the current fiscal year’s budget, albeit a relatively small one.
He added that despite the billions in new revenue from Proposition 30, the budget will be “pretty restrained” for at least the next couple of years.
After that, Taylor said in an annual fiscal appraisal called “California’s Fiscal Outlook,” the state could see a rosier budget picture, including potential surpluses that would give politicians “more choices.”
But that brighter future, he quickly added, is based on certain assumptions, such as the state’s economy recovering briskly and, most importantly, Brown and legislators resisting pressures to ramp up spending on programs and services that have been reduced in recent years.
That pressure will be difficult to resist, since interest groups that backed Proposition 30, and helped Democrats strengthen legislative control, are the ones bringing it to bear.
Brown has said he wants to permanently reduce the state’s baseline budget. And Proposition 30’s taxes would finance that markedly lower level of general fund spending, about $90 billion to $95 billion a year currently.
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