California Budget — A Billion Here, a Billion There...
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Here in California, the big spin on the budget is that the thing is not weeks late getting passed, as we have come to expect. Plus, it is touted as being a responsible document for paying down some of the state's gargantuan debt and reflective of less snarly legislating in Sacto of late [California Approves Multi-Billion Dollar Budget, KCBS, 6/28/06].

State lawmakers approved a $131 billion spending plan, the first on-time budget in six years.

The plan uses a tax windfall to fund one of the largest increases ever for California schools and also sets aside billions to pay down debt and build up reserves.

Democrats were happy that education was fully funded, at a stunning $55.1 billion. California took in more tax revenue than expected, so Dems wanted extras like $23 million to provide healthcare for illegal alien kiddies, but cooler heads (i.e. Republicans) prevailed.

(A FAIR report estimated in 2004 that illegal aliens cost California taxpayers over $10 billion annually, so $23 million is chump change, but still...)

However, you have to read the final paragraph in today's LA Times article (Budget Dance Avoids Missteps of Past) to get the real skinny on California's balance sheet...

But this budget still will spend $3.4 billion more than the state takes in. So it's not really balanced, despite the dance spin.

So if not for the millions of high-maintenance illegal aliens, the state would not still be in the hole, but would have $7 billion free to start on some long-overdue infrastructure repairs — or whatever!

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