One hundred days after the beginning of the fiscal year, California finally has a “balanced” budget. Again the balance has been achieved by the usual gimmickry.
How? By suspending Proposition 98, $1.7 billion of K-12 public education money will be deferred until July 2011; $189 million in Community College funds will be deferred until next year; assuming that California will receive $5.4 billion from the federal government (only $1.3 billion has been approved to date); and $1 billion increase in spending under the dubious assumption that revenues will increase in this troubled economy.
The bottom line is that California is once again deferring the deficit until next fiscal year.
Why do we have an annual budget crisis? Primarily because California is one of only three states – Arkansas and Rhode Island are the others – to require a supermajority to adopt a budget. Thus, each year at budget time, the Republican minority is able to exercise disproportionate control over the budget process because passing a budget requires a two-thirds vote in both houses.
I, for one, am tired of having to wait until October for the state to finally have a budget and then learn about all the horse trading – often at the public’s expense – that happened to obtain one.
That’s why it is important that Proposition 25 pass so that a California’s budget needs only a simple majority in both the Senate and the Assembly to pass.
Sun, October 10, 2010
by Ralph E. Stone