The California state budget Kabuki dance
June 15, 2023
In California politics, there are three major movements to the annual budget Kabuki Dance. In January of each year, the governor announces a proposed budget for the next fiscal year beginning July 1st. The dance move just executed last week was the “May Revise,” a revision of the previous proposed budget, leading up to the passage of the final budget by June 15th.
As this column has previously revealed, all phases of the budget dance are fake insofar as they are subject to substantial amendments throughout the year by so-called “trailer bills” and “junior budget bills,” rendering what was for decades a rational process for fiscal planning into a never-ending convoluted outflow of taxpayer cash.
(The budget process was wholly perverted in 2010 by Proposition 25, laughingly labeled the “On-Time Budget Act of 2010.” Its real purpose was to repeal the two-thirds vote requirement for state budgets. Voters fell for the promise that budgets would be passed on time, with greater transparency and that legislators would forfeit their pay if the budget was late. Thirteen years later we now know that all three of these representations were lies.)
While the May Revise is not the final budget, it usually has the benefit of providing a bit more clarity as to the financial state of the state. But that may not be the case this year as explained below. As with previous May revisions, this one had a couple of surprises.
First, a pleasant surprise. Despite heavy pressure from far left progressives in the legislature and public sector labor organizations, the governor is not proposing any significant tax increases. So, despite the innumerable disagreements taxpayers have with Newsom, give some credit where credit is due, especially when the rejection was unequivocal: “I do not think it’s the right time to raise taxes, and I was crystal clear on that.”
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