Unable to agree whether to raise taxes or cut spending, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state’s lawmakers will instead rely on time travel. Sacramento hopes to “save” somewhere around $10 billion by shifting costs to next year’s budget and resorting to other accounting tricks.
They’ll have to do better to close the $24 billion budget gap.
San Jose Mercury News:
Need an extra $2.3 billion? Easy—just make people pay more of next year’s taxes this year, by increasing paycheck withholdings and estimated tax payments.
How about selling a chunk of a state insurance fund? That’s good for a cool $1 billion on paper, even if experts say it’s highly uncertain the sale would fetch that much, if it can be executed at all.
Expenses still too high? Here’s a really creative one: Push back state employees’ monthly paychecks in June 2010 by a single day—from June 30 to July 1—and thus onto the next fiscal year’s books. Just like that, $1.2 billion “saved.”
Those are just some of the maneuvers—or, to use a less charitable term, gimmicks—that the governor and lawmakers have suggested to help fill a $24 billion shortfall through June 2010. The proposals add up to about $10 billion, depending on what one defines as a gimmick.