The California Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report on the state’s budgetary outlook that was very rosy, indeed. I reproduce the table on projected operating surpluses here because I suspect Californians will want to refer to it as the next few years pass.
The analyst notes that these figures are based on a number of assumptions, one being “steady, moderate economic growth,” and another being that the state does not increase contributions to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. He wrote: “Other liabilities, however, are not required to be repaid from the state General Fund on specific timelines under today’s laws and policies. These include some of the items on the Governor’s wall of debt, along with massive retirement liabilities related to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. If additional payments are made in the future to repay these various liabilities, the operating surpluses in our forecast would be reduced by a like amount. (Besides support from the General Fund, other sources of funding—from school districts and teachers, for example—and other policy decisions may be needed to address some of these liabilities over time.)”
Well, we’ll see. If history is any guide, the line is already forming to spend the projected surpluses, so let’s not celebrate just yet.