California Faces $20 Billion in Red Ink

By | November 19, 2009

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office issued a report yesterday that says the state’s General Fund is going to come up $20 billion short when its present budget ends.

The report says officials are going to need to deal with this red ink in the next few months before the legislature negotiates and adopts its next budget, for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

The report says the shortfall is largely due to the fact that the state has not been able to implement some of the measures negotiated when legislators forged the present budget. Those measures included a planned sale of the State Compensation Insurance Fund.

The report also notes that the state prison system and the Medi-Cal program have not bee able to acheive anticipated savings.

The report says the impact of the shortfall could last for a long time if not addressed. Thought the state economy does appear to be growing somewhat, it is growing slowly and spending is expected to outpace revenues for several years. At the same time, the state has skyrocketing costs for retired workers and for debt service.

The California Budget Project said the report highlights the fact that the state must reform prisons and should consider cutting tax breaks given recently to some major corporations.

“It’s also clear that California cannot afford to subsidize the state’s largest and most profitable corporations through the tax cuts enacted in September 2008 and February of this year,” said Jean Ross, the executive director of California Budget Project, in a statement. “The Legislature should repeal corporate tax cuts that were included in these budget agreements that could cost the state as much as $2.5 billion per year when fully implemented.”

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