Experts Expound

Experts Expound

The May Revision is coming up in two weeks and late tax receipts show that
the state may have several billion dollars more than it expected. Should the
administration use this money to pay down the structural deficit, or should
the funds go somewhere else?

You don’t “pay down” a structural deficit; you correct it. But no amount of
extra, one-time cash is going to accomplish that task because it involves
how–not what–the state earns and spends. You pay down a debt, and a prudent
governor and Legislature would use the current windfall to do it. That said,
2006 is an election year, and the urge to act prudently has about as much
chance to survive as a prairie dog in the Oklahoma Land Rush.

He better pay down the debt or his new buddy, McClintock, will call for a
coup. This governor will do what he did last year: Sprinkle a few million
here and few million there to cover his butt, then roll out some minor
initiatives and act like he just saved the state. Part of the governing by
photo-op plan from Team Arnold.

Republican legislators should support spending it on the condition that Los
Angeles and San Francisco get none of it.

The governor must pay down the structural deficit. It would be hypocritical
not to.

Absolutely they should use the money to address the structural deficit. I
don’t believe that will happen. Proposition 98 will dictate that some (and
maybe a large part of the money) go to schools. What is left over will be
spent by the Legislature. The governor will need to red-pencil these new
expenditures to save any money. Unfortunately, the governor has not used his
red pencil aggressively in the past.

For the love of God and fiscal sanity, pay down the structural deficit. Of
course, it ain’t gonna happen as we spend what we don’t have. The bill will
come due for whoever is governor–and for all of us–in the next couple of

Pay back the schools for the broken promise and then it’s game over for any
Democrat running against him.

The money should go to pay down the structural deficit, but it won’t. Look
to see buy-offs on K-12 and higher education, nominal increases in monies to
the poor and indigent–weak–attempts to blunt attacks from the Democrats in
the fall.

These are one-time funds that by definition won’t help to fix the structural
deficit. They could, however, be applied toward paying off debt obligations
or setting aside reserves for next year. Some of it can and should be spent
on programs, but they should be one-time projects such as pilot programs or
jump-starting infrastructure repairs, rather than ongoing spending

Paying down debt wins you points with editorial boards and scholars, not
necessarily with voters. A mix of early debt retirement and one-time
expenses makes the most sense, but that would require lawmakers to think
beyond November 7, which may not be possible.

The people from whom we sought opinions: Andrew Acosta, A.G. Block, Don
Wilcox, Jon Fleischman, Evan Goldberg, Deborah Gonzalez, Dan Schnur, Jason
Kinney, Tom Kise, Karen Hanretty, Kevin Spillane, Michael Houston, Adam
Mendelsohn, Matt Ross, Sam Delson, Mike Madrid, Morgan Crinklaw, Dave
Lesher, Richard Zeiger, Ralph Simoni, Bob Hertzberg, Scott Baugh, Steve
Maviglio, Tony Quinn, Peter DeMarco, Adam Probolsky, Barbara O’Connor, Jack

Want to see more stories like this? Sign up for The Roundup, the free daily newsletter about California politics from the editors of Capitol Weekly. Stay up to date on the news you need to know.

Sign up below, then look for a confirmation email in your inbox.


Support for Capitol Weekly is Provided by: