July Report Finds Calif. Had More Than $18B in Outstanding Loans
On Monday, the state controller's office released a report showing that California had more than $18 billion in outstanding loans at the end of July after borrowing from special funds to cover daily expenses, the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal" reports.
The report found that the outstanding loans included $9.6 billion left over from June and $8.5 billion in new July borrowing.
Details of Report
According to the report, Controller John Chiang (D) used so-called high-speed accounting practices that involve borrowing money from special funds to pay bills and pledging to repay the amount when the state collects more tax revenue.
The report found that Chiang used high-speed accounting measures more often than usual in July. Chiang used 81% of funding available for short-term borrowing last month, an increase from 48.4% in July 2011.
The high-speed accounting practices are separate from loans taken out by the governor and lawmakers, which also have increased.
According to the report, the state has a total of $4.3 billion in outstanding loans from special funds, an increase of nearly 600% since 2008.
Reactions to Report
Jacob Roper, a spokesperson for Chiang, said the state borrowed what it did because "[t]hat's the amount of special fund borrowing necessary to carry out the state's budget."
H.D. Palmer -- a spokesperson for the state Department of Finance -- said the state has engaged in more short-term borrowing because it cannot get extra revenue until voters approve proposed tax increases in November (Megerian, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 8/13).
Three separate tax increase measures have qualified for the November ballot, including:
- A compromise tax hike plan -- developed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and supporters of the "Millionaires Tax;"
- A tax increase proposal by attorney Molly Munger; and
- A tax initiative by hedge fund manager Tom Steyer (California Healthline, 6/21).