Jerry Brown Warns California: Budget for Falling Revenues

Jerry Brown (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

California Gov. Jerry Brown warned state legislators on Friday that they should be prepared for falling revenues, presenting a revised $122.2 budget that he cast as a conservative plan for tighter fiscal times.

“The surging tide of revenue has begun to turn,” Brown said. “Quoting Aesop’s fable of the ant and the grasshopper: ‘It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.'”

With the stock market struggling in 2016, tax receipts have been down, prompting Brown to reject most new spending initiatives, other than a proposed $2 billion bond to raise money for the homeless by adding a tax surcharge for high earners.

Though California’s leftists want to pass an extension of Proposition 30 tax increases on the November ballot, Brown warned that their efforts would not have much impact on the state’s finances: “Even if the voters pass an extension of taxes, the longer-term budget outlook would be barely balanced,” he said.

Brown did find room, however, for spending on climate change:

The May Revision supports California’s ambitious policies to advance clean energy with a $3.1 billion cap-and-trade expenditure plan that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions through programs that support clean transportation, promote transformational sustainable communities, reduce short-lived climate pollutants and protect natural ecosystems. Over multiple years, the cap-and-trade program gives the state the chance to transform communities – particularly those disadvantaged ones – into innovative, sustainable economic centers.

Some Republicans were scathing in their criticism. Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) issued the following statement:

Today, Governor Jerry Brown released his May Revise for projected 2016-17 state spending, which shows that California’s tax revenues are $1.9 billion lower than anticipated. Despite this significant loss in expected revenue, the Governor only revised California’s record spending down by $500 million from his previous budget proposal in January. Perhaps reducing spending by $500 million when tax revenues are down by $1.9B makes sense under California’s new Common Core curriculum.

Additionally, the Governor again acknowledged the well known fact that California will have a $4 billion deficit in three years, yet he paradoxically took $1.6 billion away from the rainy day fund which could help smooth deficits, and instead unveiled an extra $10 billion in permanent spending. Included in that additional spending is $3.2 billion for the recent minimum wage hike, $3.1 billion for the Cap and Trade program, and $2.1 billion for an ‘optional’ expansion of Obamacare.

As Governor Brown so eloquently said today when talking about whether or not the government should take California taxpayer’s hard earned money, ‘the money in somebody’s [read: taxpayers] hands is a good thing’. Strangely, the arithmetic in the Governor’s budget doesn’t add up to his propaganda.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.