Where Should Our Money Go?
By Senator Bob Huff
The Governor will be releasing his budget priorities this week. Thankfully, the economy is reviving and revenues are up. Overall, it probably will reflect his general frugality. That’s not a bad thing when it comes to spending other people’s money.
Republicans pushed for creating a protected reserve for years, and we are justifiably pleased that almost 70 percent of Californians supported the passage of Proposition 2.
Prop. 2 banks 1.5 percent of general fund and capital gains revenues exceeding eight percent of general fund taxes, into a new account for the next 15 years. Half of the money goes to the Rainy Day Fund, and the other half to pay off debt, including retirement and health obligations. With a Rainy Day Fund finally in place, it creates a cushion that will soften the next economic downturn.
The difficulty that lies in the Prop. 2 formula is with determining the amount to be deposited into the Rainy Day Fund each year. Because more revenue came in this past year than anticipated, the LAO reports that the amount deposited for 2015-16 turned out to be short by about $2.2 billion. That means less money available in the general fund 2016-17 budget for new or expanded programs. You can bet some legislators will try to figure out a way around it.
The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office recently released its fiscal outlook for the state’s 2016-17 budget, calling it “decidedly positive.” Budgets are simply a reflection of priorities, so here, straight and simple, are Republican priorities for the 2016-17 budget. They are reasonable, rational, responsible.
Senator Huff represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties.