Chillin' out till it needs to be funded
zyakaira notes: This crisis ain’t over yet by a mile, Going back on 66, Chicago may be next as California and Vegas have already given in..sad to see Hollywood , valley and more just sink without a trace
Reporting from Sacramento – Less than four months after California leaders stitched together a patchwork budget, a projected deficit of nearly $21 billion already looms over Sacramento, according to a report to be released today by the chief budget analyst.
The new figure — the nonpartisan analyst’s first projection for the coming budget — threatens to send Sacramento back into budgetary gridlock and force more across-the-board cuts in state programs.
The grim forecast, described by people who were briefed on the report by Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, comes courtesy of California’s recession-wracked economy, unrealistic budgeting assumptions, spending cuts tied up in the courts and disappearing federal stimulus funds.
“Economic recovery will not take away the very severe budget problems for this year, next year and the year after,” said Steve Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.
In fact, after two years of precipitous revenue declines, the new report projects relatively stable tax collections for the state, said those who were briefed. But that won’t stop the deficit from climbing to nearly $21 billion.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will present his next proposed budget to Californians in January as he begins his last year in office, started sounding the alarm last week.
“I think that there will be across-the-board cuts again,” he said at a San Jose news conference.
The task in 2010 could be even harder than it was this year, when record deficits and cash shortfalls drove California to issue IOUs for only the second time since the Great Depression. Lawmakers have already cut billions from education, healthcare and social services while temporarily hiking income, sales and vehicle taxes.
“I can’t think of any good solutions,” said Assemblywoman Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), who chairs the lower house budget committee.
The current budget year accounts for $6.3 billion of the deficit, the nonpartisan analyst projects. Prisons spending will outstrip what has been budgeted by more than $1 billion, and K-12 schools were underpaid by $1 billion under the complex formula that governs education funding, the report says.
Another $14.4 billion of the deficit is for the fiscal year that begins next summer, say those briefed on the report. The governor’s next budget will have to account for both years.