California Democrats and progressive groups hoping that strong state budget revenues would help them make the case for new spending will likely be disappointed by April income tax collections.
When Governor Jerry Brown projected a four-and-a-half billion dollar budget surplus in January, many advocacy groups immediately started hoping for even stronger revenues that could be spent on their programs. But it now looks like they’ll be disappointed with income tax collections in the most critical month of the year.
“The news so far looks like that revenues might be somewhat better than the administration’s projections, but not wildly better,” says Jason Sisney with the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office - a few hundred million dollars better, he says.
The governor wants to put the state’s budget surplus into a “rainy day fund” and pay down debt. But there’s a lot of pressure from Democratic lawmakers and outside groups to restore previous years’ budget cuts instead – from higher education to the social safety net and more.
“And certainly the legislature and the governor will not have enough money to do all of that,” Sisney says. “They’re still going to have very difficult choices – even with the extra revenues.”
The governor will release his updated budget proposal in mid-May.