Friday, March 4, 2011

California's Finances, a Retrospective

Below is a snippet from an old November 2009 LAO report--but boy, does it have amazing data. Here is one particularly juicy excerpt:

In General, the Legislature Retains Power Over the Budget. Some observers of the California budget process have asserted that—due to voter–approved propositions, federal law, and court decisions—the state’s budget is unmanageable and basically impossible to balance. In reality, however, the Legislature remains in control of the vast majority of state spending. This is particularly true over the longer term when there is enough time to allow major decisions by the Legislature to be fully implemented. Even in the shorter term, the Legislature generally holds a considerable degree of freedom to adjust state spending. Such decisions are often more restricted by the lack of political consensus as opposed to any structural budgetary constraint.

More here. Voters must realize that almost everything they read from CNN, Fox, or any major media outlet contains some element of bias. In contrast, all states have finance departments that will provide you with the (mostly) unvarnished truth. In California, we have the LAO. For the feds, we have the CBO. Turn off your television, and go forth and read.

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