On politics in the Golden State

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California’s budget problems not solvable this year, analysts say

April 7, 2010 |  9:29 am

California currently faces an estimated $20-billion deficit, which is roughly the size of the annual spending on prisons and higher education combined.

Which begs the question, as Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) put it at an afternoon budget hearing Tuesday: “How do we bridge this fiscal abyss we’re in?”

The answer, according to several budget experts testifying before the fiscal panel, is that you don’t.

“You’re obviously not going to solve it in one year,” Loren Kaye, president of the business-backed California Foundation for Commerce and Education, told the lawmakers. “I hope no one thinks that’s possible.”

Mac Taylor, the respected nonpartisan Legislative Analyst, piled on. “It’s not going to get taken care of this year,” he said, “probably not even next year.”

And they were just talking about the chances to fix the books fiscally. The politics of tackling such a shortfall -- particularly in an election year with a lame-duck governor – becomes an even harder task. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to release his revised plans to address the state deficit on May 14.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento