On politics in the Golden State

« Previous Post | PolitiCal Home | Next Post »

Your bill for California's debt: $2,559

October 1, 2012 | 12:40 pm

 State Treasurer Bill LockyerThe golden rule in state government used to be that if more than 6% of the budget was being consumed by paying back bonds and other debt, there was too much borrowing going on.

It’s been some time since California hit that target.

On Monday, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer released the latest report detailing the state’s debt and outlook for the future. It’s going to be expensive.

Paying down the state’s ever growing credit card bill ate up 7.9% of the state budget in the fiscal year that just ended. California is on track to spend 8.9%, or about $8.6 billion, of the state general fund budget in the current fiscal year.

An easier way to digest the numbers is in terms of how much debt that amounts to for each Californian. The answer? A lot.

The Wall Street credit rating agency Moody’s says paying down the state government debt accumulated to date will cost each of us $2,559.

The only Americans facing a bigger payback are New Yorkers. Each of them owes $3,208.

Lockyer didn’t dwell on these numbers in his report, which is used by Wall Street to help judge the state’s creditworthiness. Instead, he noted some of the actions legislators and the governor took to start chipping away at the problem. Rolling back pensions, for example, will not get the state out of the woods, but it could save billions of dollars in the long run. 


Gov. Brown vetoes bill restricting how motorists pass bicyclists

California budget stumbles as redevelopment funds prove scarce

Jerry Brown signs restrictions on Buy Here Pay Here used-car lots

-- Evan Halper


Photo: State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, shown in 2010, released a report detailing the state’s debt and outlook for the future. Credit: Armando Arorizo / Bloomberg