Budget blues from April's weak tax receipts

10:57 AM, May 1, 2012   |    comments
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And now, the worst kept secret in state budget circles: California's budget woes are going to be bigger, not smaller, when Governor Jerry Brown unveils his revised fiscal plan later this month.

With April tax collection season now in the books, the early numbers look bleak.  The daily tracking provided by the state controller's office shows a net total of $7.17 billion in state income taxes over the month, almost a full $2 billion short of Brown's estimate for what April would bring.

Those numbers are only a snapshot of the cash woes, and reflect daily cash totals rather than actual budget data (some cash is reported late, some reports don't reflect taxpayer withholding, and so forth).  But it's clear that the governor and legislators will have more, not less, work to do to craft a balanced budget by June 15.

Brown himself has suggested a deficit projection that could be in the vicinity of $10 billion, and the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office recently mused that the governor's budget could have missed the mark by as much as $3 billion -- which would make the overall deficit projection even higher.

All of this means more pressure on the Legislature to cut spending.  The governor's November tax increase initiative is already assumed in his budget plans, and so that means (given the political impediment to a supermajority tax vote in the Capitol) any additional red ink will have to be erased through cuts.


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