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California's legislative analyst says deficit may be even higher

May 18, 2012 | 11:31 am

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown releases details of his revised budget plan for the coming fiscal year. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press

This post has been updated. See the notes below for details.

California's budget deficit may be $1 billion larger than Gov. Jerry Brown's $15.7-billion estimate, the Legislative Analyst's Office said on Friday.

The bulk of the difference lies in questions over money from defunct local redevelopment agencies. Brown wants to use $1.4 billion in leftover assets to help plug the budget gap, and the state expects to collect property tax money that used to fund the agencies.

But the analyst predicts there will be much less money available, increasing the deficit by roughly $900 million.

[Updated 12:50 p.m. and 1:10 p.m. PDT, May 18: Earlier versions of this post said Gov. Brown's estimate may have been $900 million off. But in addition to the concern over redevelopment money, the legislative analyst's  report said Brown's revenue estimates may be "a few hundred million dollars" too high, which could further widen the budget gap to $1 billion or more.]

The analyst's report said there's "considerable uncertainty" surrounding the amount of redevelopment money, and lawsuits could further bog down the process.

Other than that, the report said, Brown's proposal appears reasonable. But an uncertain economy makes it difficult to predict how much tax revenue the state will pull in.

"This makes the adoption of realistic budgetary actions -- including realistic trigger cuts -- particularly important if the state is to continue making progress toward eliminating the stubborn structural deficit," the report said.

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-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento
twitter.com/chrismegerian

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown releases details of his revised budget plan for the coming fiscal year. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press

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