Eliminate California’s budget deficit

You might not be a California state legislator, and you might not even play one on TV, but you can now try your hand at reducing California’s gazillion-dollar budget deficit, thanks to a fun budget widget from the Sacramento Bee.

OK, a gazillion dollars might not be exactly accurate. Newly re-inaugurated Governor Jerry Brown is looking for ways to axe $26.4 billion from the deficit, through a combination of spending cuts, extensions of tax increases, and pushing off some responsibilities to cities. Here in San Francisco, where our city’s budget deficit isn’t quite a gazillion dollars (more like a bazillion instead), that could mean trouble. More about that in a different post.

There are certainly no easy answers to California’s budget woes, and the Sac Bee’s budget tool makes that crystal clear. What to chop? Education? Aid to developmentally disabled kids? Prisons? Libraries? State parks? We’ve written about redevelopment agencies; chopping them from the budget could save California $1.7 billion. Or are pensions the biggest problem in the mix?

On the revenue side, there are all kinds of options on the table: Governor Brown has proposed, among other options, calling an election to get the public’s approval for extending tax increases put in place in 2009 for five more years.

Just today he announced that he is canceling a plan (from former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) to sell several state buildings, raising just over a billion bucks in the short term but costing taxpayers a bundle more than that in the long term by paying rent to the new owners for the next 20 years.

For what it’s worth, some economic poo-bahs say Jerry Brown’s budget is largely gimmick-free and that it actually solves a chunk the state’s budget deficit instead of kicking the can down the road.

If you’ve got a great budget-balancing scenario, send it to the state legislature — they can use the help.


  1. Jimmy says

    The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Californians focuses on three specific program areas because those were the costs examined by researchers from the Urban Institute in 1994. Looking at the costs of education, health care and incarceration for illegal aliens in 1994, the Urban Institute estimated that California was subsidizing illegal immigrants to the tune of about $1.1 billion. The enormous rise in the costs of illegal immigrants over the intervening ten years is due to the rapid growth in illegal residents. It is reasonable to expect those costs to continue to soar if action is not taken to turn the tide.
    Minus the cost of illegals from our 24 billion budget, and we’re looking at better times. No more WIC. No more free education. No more free social services and bankrupting our hospitals. And for pete’s sakes stop the propaganda about illegals doing jobs most Americans won’t do. It’s not true. There are plenty of Americans who can do these jobs if re-directed to the places illegals using fake social security numbers (almost every fast food chain) are now working. Look at Germany, they’ve started recruiting prositutes to work with elderly and disabled. Hey, now there’s an idea….

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