The great California financial meltdown is reportedly getting closer. D-Day is on or about July 28 according to John Chiang, the state's Controller.
From Reuters, here are the grim numbers:
California's government risks a financial "meltdown" within 50 days in light of its weakening May revenues unless Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers quickly plug a $24.3 billion budget gap, the state's controller said on Wednesday.
Underscoring the severity of California's cash crisis, Controller John Chiang, who has previously warned the state's government risks running out of cash without a budget deal, said revenues in May fell by $1.14 billon, or 17.7 percent, from a year earlier.
Additionally, the revenues of the government of the most populous U.S. state fell short of estimates in Schwarzenegger's budget plan by $827 million, Chiang said.
He warned California's state government is speeding toward a financial disaster unless officials act urgently to balance its books.
"Without immediate solutions from the governor and legislature, we are less than 50 days away from a meltdown of state government," Chiang said in a statement.
Most observers are postulating that either California will have to massively cut programs or rely on a federal bailout. Given the dysfunctional nature of its political system any belt tightening is probably out of the question so that would theoretically leave federal assistance as the only alternative.
There may indeed need to be some sort of assistance from the feds in order to get through a short-term cash crunch but don't discount the possibility that some accounting gimmicks stave off any ajor disaster. I live in Arizona, arguably in almost as bad financial shape as California, and I continue to be amazed at the budgetary shenanigans that legislators come up with to kick the can out a fiscal year or two. I think the hope is that the world returns to 2006 status, revenues flow in and all is well.
There would seem to be three questions surrounding federal assistance to California.
- One would it come with strict conditions?
- How many other states would get in line?
- Where does the money come from?