Legislative Analyst Criticizes Budget Proposal; Says Funds Should Be Used To Pay Down Debt
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) fiscal year 2006-2007 budget proposal "moves the state in the wrong direction" by spending unexpected revenues on new or expanded programs, rather than paying down state debt, Legislative Analyst Elizabeth Hill said Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reports (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 1/13).
Schwarzenegger has proposed a $125.6-billion FY 2006-2007 budget, under which the state would spend $6.4 billion more than it expects to receive in revenue. An expected $7 billion budget surplus from FY 2005-2006 would cover the budget deficit for FY 2006-2007.
The budget proposal includes a 4%, or $1.2 billion, spending increase for health and human services programs; $72 million to enroll uninsured children in Healthy Families and Medi-Cal; and $100 million to help pay for health care for the new enrollees in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families (California Healthline, 1/11).
Hill said the FY 2006-2007 budget should "focus more on paying down existing debt before making expensive new commitments" with funds that could decrease in the future (Halper, Los Angeles Times, 1/13).
According to Hill, the state would face a shortfall of more than $5 billion in FY 2007-2008 if the governor's proposal were adopted without changes (Chorneau, AP/Monterey County Herald, 1/13).
The following articles also address the FY 2006-2007 state budget proposal:
- "Analyst: Budget Proposal Goes in 'Wrong Direction'" (Mendel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/13).
- "Caveat on Governor's Budget Plan: Experts Say Funding Depends on Strong Real Estate Market" (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/16).
- "Budget Attacked as Failing to Erase Deficit" (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/13).
- "Budget Plan Built on Vaporous Revenue" (Davis, San Jose Mercury News, 1/13).
- "Analyst: Spending Plan Iffy" (Stockton Record, 1/13).
- "Governor's Budget Is Called Road to Deficit" (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 1/13).
In the fiscal year 2006-2007 budget, "billions in outlay are dictated by tax-and-spend formulas adopted by California voters over the years without any debate or consideration by legislators," Los Angeles Times contributing editor Bill Stall writes in an opinion piece.
Stall continues that while "[n]o one disputes the needs of children without health insurance or the severity of the emergency-room crisis, ... ballot-box budgeting is insidious" because it "dictates in isolation how the state spends its money" (Stall, Los Angeles Times, 1/14).
The Legislative Analyst's overview of Schwarzenegger's budget proposal is available online.