What Does California Gov. Jerry Brown Know about the Next Crash and Recession that We Don’t?…”Not if, when.”

Friday, June 12, 2015
By Paul Martin

by Wolf Richter
June 11, 2015

California was America’s Greece in 2009. It had excellent wine and olive oil. But tax revenues were collapsing. The deficit ballooned. Its credit rating was cut to the lowest of any state in the US. It couldn’t borrow at reasonable rates. And when, under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, it couldn’t pay its bills with real money, it sent fancy-looking IOUs to its suppliers.

Today, California is flush with money. The economy in the coastal areas has bounced back. Unemployment, while still high in some areas, continues to drop. The budget is on its second annual “surplus” in a row. Capital gains taxes from the booming tech sector, the soaring stock market, the white-hot property sector, and all kinds of other investment activities, on top of some “temporary” tax increases, triggered a flood of revenues – $6.7 billion more than Brown’s office had estimated just in January.

OK, no one can figure out how to deal with the unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities. But what the heck, lawmakers at the Democratic stronghold are now fighting over how to spend the “surplus.” They’ve got till June 15 to figure it out and pass a budget or their pay will be docked.

Gov. Jerry Brown, sworn in for his fourth and final term in January – he’d served two terms in the 1970s – is putting his stamp of frugality on the budget, trying to stem the flood of spending proposals. But lawmakers need to be reelected, votes need to be bought, special interests need to be satisfied, and so the money needs to flow.

The Rest…HERE

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