Refunds fill Californians' wallets but could drain state budget
But that's bad news for the state’s bottom line, because accountants expected to pay out only $2 billion.
The almost 30% gap, detailed in numbers from the Franchise Tax Board and Gov. Jerry Brown's Department of Finance, is exacerbating an already difficult month for California's finances.
Income taxes were 20% below expectations set by the Brown administration, and corporate taxes were about 10% below.
California has consistently paid out higher income tax refunds than expected in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Refunds totaled $2.34 billion in March, 15% above projections.
H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the Department of Finance, said the state may simply be paying refunds faster than usual. That means a check that would have been sent out in May was already sent out in April.
Indeed, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office said in a report released Tuesday that the state may issue fewer refunds in May, helping offset the jump in April.
-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento
Photo: Large boxes full of already opened and emptied envelopes sit at the Franchise Tax Board in Sacramento. Credit: Laura Morton / For The Times