California general fund ends fiscal year in black

dsiders@sacbee.comJuly 10, 2014 

Controller John Chiang before Gov. Jerry Brown delivers the 2014 State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 in Sacramento.

HECTOR AMEZCUA — hamezcua@sacbee.com

In the latest sign of California’s improving budget outlook, the state general fund ended the fiscal year in the black for the first time since June 2007, according to the state controller’s monthly cash report.

Revenues as of June 30, the final day of the fiscal year, exceeded spending by about $4.3 billion, enough to pay off outstanding loans and leave a balance of about $1.9 billion, according to the report. The state has previously borrowed money, including from internal special funds, to address fluctuations in revenue. Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for the state treasurer, said in an email that the state still plans to use short-term revenue anticipation notes to meet cash flow needs, but how much has not yet been decided.

Controller John Chiang cautioned the balance could be erased by an economic dip.

“While this is welcome news after seven years of record-high borrowing just to pay our everyday bills, we still have much work to do,” Chiang said in a prepared statement. “We should remain laser-focused on paying down the Wall of Debt, reversing the many accounting gimmicks to which we’ve become addicted and keeping the State as liquid as possible to avoid experiencing the payment delays and IOUs that plagued our state during the Great Recession.”

Chiang said “another down cycle in the economy is inevitable – we just don’t know when or how prolonged it might be.”

The controller’s office reported revenue for the 2013-14 fiscal year at $101.6 billion, about 2.1 percent higher than Gov. Jerry Brown projected in January.

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 12:30 p.m. to include Dresslar’s remarks.

Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.

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