It is not often that the phrases “California budget” and “good” are spoken in the same conversation, let alone the same sentence. And though the Golden State’s budget looks rosier these days, it is not time to stop working toward a stronger fiscal future.
In another bit of good news, the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget analyst said Monday that the state budget is balanced. Just a short time ago, the same analyst said there could be a shortfall of more than $1 billion. But now the analyst has revised the numbers, which line up with the budget Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled last week.
We laud the governor’s budget, especially the proposals for education spending, but this is not a time to sit back and relax.
The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that there are still outstanding future obligations for health care and pension costs. So while the short-term budget outlook is positive, there are still long-term structural issues that need to be resolved.
Brown has done a good job of instituting austerity measures and persuading the public to increase taxes temporarily. Now, he will have to have a showdown with the state’s workers to come to an agreement on what to do about health care and pensions. Democratic lawmakers, who are now the majority in both houses of the Legislature, also must work on fixes and not kowtow to union supporters.
The current budget situation shows that hard work and perseverance can fix what seemed like unfixable problems. Brown has set the state back on track in terms of its finances. Now it is up to him and the Legislature to make sure it sticks.