State budget devolved into duplicitous gimmickry

Over the last few decades, the once-straightforward process of fashioning a state budget devolved into duplicitous gimmickry.

Governors and legislators would paper over gaps with off-the-books loans, creative bookkeeping and deliberate falsehoods.

When Jerry Brown resumed the governorship in 2011, he pledged to end fiscal hijinks and align the budget with reality, as harsh as it may be.

He identified a $30 billion “wall of debt” that had been accumulated to cover deficits, promised to pay it off, called for a “rainy day fund” as a hedge against economic dips and, finally, persuaded voters to raise taxes.

However, given the history and Brown’s linear leanings, one should look askance at a new proposal in his 2017-18 budget to borrow $6 billion from an obscure state fund and give it to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to whittle down rapidly increasing state pension obligations.

Source: The Sacramento Bee

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