California Legislature boosts budget to $156 billion


By James Poulos | Cal Watchdog

Convinced that California’s fiscal crisis is effectively over, state Democrats led the state Legislature to pass a $156 billion budget.

They did so after a round of negotiations that left Sacramento just six hours away from missing the state’s constitutional deadline for passing a budget into law by midnight, June 15.

With a general fund more than $7 billion larger than last year’s, the new budget is California’s biggest ever. A victory for Gov. Jerry Brown, who was largely responsible for crafting the plan, the budget is now set to trigger debate over the results of its politically disputed expenditures. For Brown, the budget is part of a larger economic picture. With the “right kind of budget,” he told Democratic legislators, California’s credit rating could rise to the highest level in five years.

As it stands now, California’s borrowing costs are lower than they have been since 2008. Though profligate by the standards of Republicans in the Legislature, Brown’s budgetary moves over the past several years have convinced ratings agencies that the state has turned a corner from the bad old days of 2009, when California paid some bills by issuing IOUs. That year, California’s budget deficit reached $26 billion under Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

at Cal Watchdog.