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To put budget woes into perspective…

November 18, 2009

Take a look at what’s going on in California.

The Los Angeles Times reported today that the Golden State is facing a budget deficit of $21 billion. That’s after the legislature pieced together a supposed budget fix earlier this year.

From The Times

The new figure — the nonpartisan analyst’s first projection for the coming budget — threatens to send Sacramento back into budgetary gridlock and force more across-the-board cuts in state programs.

The grim forecast, described by people who were briefed on the report by Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, comes courtesy of California’s recession-wracked economy, unrealistic budgeting assumptions, spending cuts tied up in the courts and disappearing federal stimulus funds.

“Economic recovery will not take away the very severe budget problems for this year, next year and the year after,” said Steve Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.

In fact, after two years of precipitous revenue declines, the new report projects relatively stable tax collections for the state, said those who were briefed. But that won’t stop the deficit from climbing to nearly $21 billion.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will present his next proposed budget to Californians in January as he begins his last year in office, started sounding the alarm last week.

“I think that there will be across-the-board cuts again,” he said at a San Jose news conference.

Of course, California is vastly different from Kentucky, both in terms of its state government and its population size.

But folks in Kentucky, who are facing a expected budget shortfall of $121 million this fiscal year, must breathe a sigh of relief looking westward and saying, “At least we’re not California.”

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