Capitol Alert: California tax revenue beats projections, Chiang says

dsiders@sacbee.comJuly 10, 2013 

5W28GROUP

Gov. Jerry Brown holds the state budget Thursday at the Capitol, joined by, from left, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Sen. Mark Leno.

LEZLIE STERLING — lsterling@sacbee.com

The state collected about $1.2 billion more in tax revenue last month than Gov. Jerry Brown projected, ending the fiscal year about $2 billion ahead of expectations, the state controller reported today.

Controller John Chiang put tax revenue in June, the last month of the budget year, about 10 percent higher than Brown estimated the previous month, with revenue for the full year up about 2 percent.

Brown persuaded lawmakers in budget negotiations this summer to accept relatively modest revenue estimates for the fiscal year beginning July 1, resulting in a budget that increased spending on social services far less than many Democratic lawmakers hoped.

"Rising employment, economic expansion and voter-approved tax increases have generated revenues outperforming even the rosiest of projections," Chiang said in a prepared statement. "However, California's history of boom or bust revenue cycles should be a cautionary tale that informs our spending decisions and incentivizes policymakers to prudently pay down accumulated debt."

Chiang said the state ended the fiscal year with a cash deficit of $2.4 billion - a deficit being covered by internal borrowing from special funds. The cash deficit was down from $9.6 billion at the end of 2011-12.

H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for Brown's Department of Finance, said any overage from the last budget year would be consumed by Proposition 98, California's school-funding guarantee.

"All that money is basically called for," he said, "and it goes to K-14 schools."

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