Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wondering what happened with the state budget last night?

As we have noted in prior blog posts, the legislature enacted a budget for 2015-16 based on revenue estimates which exceed those put forward by the governor in his May Revise. Other than news accounts, however, there seem to be no analyses or summaries of the legislature’s budget on the web. News accounts put total spending in that budget at $117.5 billion in contrast to the governor’s $115.3 billion. One suspects that most legislators did not have much more detail than that when they voted since you can’t find the budget (or I couldn’t) on the assembly or senate websites or the Legislative Analyst’s website or the Dept. of Finance website. (You must be shocked, shocked…) One GOP legislator accidentally voted for the budget because he was doing Facebook and wasn’t paying attention.*

However, what is striking about the budget isn’t so much what may happen next fiscal year but what happened this year. Below is a table showing the evolution of this year’s General Fund budget (2014-15) and projected 2015-16. Spending for this year rose relative to what was projected last June by about $6.5 billion or 6%. Prop 98 spending on K-14 absorbed $5.1 billion and total reserves (regular plus rainy day) rose by $1 billion over the course of the year – at least as seen in May. One thing you should come away with is that the variance in the UC budget – despite the drama of the confrontation with the governor over the increment in the university budget – is a flea on the back of an elephant compared with everything else.

         |     Fiscal 2014-15        |    Fiscal 2015-16
$billions| June ’14|Jan ’15| May ’15 | Governor|Legislature
Spending | $108.0   $111.7   $114.5  | $115.3   $117.5  
Prop 98  |   44.5     46.6     49.6  |   49.4      ?  
Reserves |    3.0      3.0      4.0  |    5.5      ?
* He was allowed to change his vote. Facebook distraction seems to be catching:
UPDATE: There is a report that the governor and legislative leaders now have a deal - but without details on the deal: 

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