Monday, May 27, 2013

California dreaming

If you spend any amount of time talking to Conservatives, inevitably, they will talk about how California is in massive amounts of debt and because of that, they're an inferior state.  But announced from Governor Jerry Brown, the state legislature, and almost every news/media organization (that's not tilting to the right) that has looked at the numbers have concluded that the California budget is largely in balance.  Depending on who you read, California has about $28 billion in outstanding debt, about $3 billion in surplus, or $850 million in surplus.

California has been in debt for so long, though, that people can't accept any new information.  But after Proposition 30 and a combination of targeted spending cuts, California's budget is largely in balance.  This is impressive and probably makes more Conservatives angry than anything else.  By the way, Jerry Brown sees that there will be a balanced budget for the next four years, too.

Proposition 30 raised taxes on the wealthy, increased the sales tax, and will give about $5 billion in extra revenue for the state.  If your issue is balancing the budget, we have real evidence from California that a combination of tax increases and targeted spending cuts can, in fact, balance the budget. 

As you can tell from comments to all of those articles, people get really upset about California getting out of a deficit. This is so strange to me.  It is, as if, people are rooting for California to fail.  They want California to fail so that they can say that tax increases are not the way to balance the budget.  This is even stranger to me, since it was only fairly recently that Proposition 30 passed (November 6, 2012 and I believe started in January).  If you actually bother to look at the numbers, you'll see that Jerry Brown has been cutting spending left and right since taking office.  He has stressed financial restraint.  If you continue to root for California to fail, then what you're saying is cutting spending cannot balance the budget.  Because if the revenue isn't as much as what you'd expect, there's not much more that Brown can cut.  Maybe spending cuts, alone, can't balance the budget.

I'll continue to stress that a combination of tax increases and targeted spending cuts can balance the budget, if you believe that balancing a federal budget is a worthwhile goal.

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