SACRAMENTOÂ â€” The election wasn’t even over Tuesday when state Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s phone started ringing. Activists of all stripes had the same message for him: With voters apparently poised to approve billions of dollars in tax hikes, it was time to spend more money.
“They had to be reminded the money has already been spent,” Lockyer said.
AsÂ CaliforniaÂ tries to shake its national reputation as a financial bungler, policymakers inÂ SacramentoÂ will be managing an estimated $6 billion in annual revenue from Gov. Jerry Brown’s newly approved tax plan, Proposition 30. The money is already included in the budget the governor signed last summer.
The bloodletting that has become a ritual part of assembling the state budget is expected to fade. But some of the issues that have madeÂ California’s financial problems so persistent remain and could still create a budget gap if things don’t go as planned.
Brown has long acknowledged that fixing the state’s fiscal problems will require more work. He told reporters last week that “there are no cure-alls” and pledged to hold the line against new spending. As the former seminary student often does, he used a biblical allusion to make his point.
“We need the prudence of Joseph,” he said.
And any other money they might squeeze? Spent.