Author: Michael Gardner

State’s budget rides a revenue rollercoaster

California families commit to salting away a share of their income when they can, just in case the roof springs a leak. But state lawmakers have learned that saving for the proverbial “rainy day” can be a challenge, given the competition for dollars and wildly fluctuating tax revenues.

Voter mandates restrict state’s flexibility

Californians want their state legislators and the governor to balance the budget. But voters also want to control the way lawmakers spend much of the money sent to Sacramento. That contradiction is one reason for the political paralysis in the Capitol. Over the past generation, voters have set aside 40 percent of the budget for K-12 schools and community colleges. They also have locked down billions of dollars for transportation, public safety, mental health, children’s services, after-school programs and anti-tobacco education, among other priorities.

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