Save California: Sell Facebook Shares

State could get $1 billion from Facebook

By Lauren Steussy
|  Thursday, Feb 2, 2012  |  Updated 8:31 AM PDT
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Facebook IPO Promises Big Bucks

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CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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A non-partisan analyst estimated that Facebook's famous public offering could put up to $1 billion into California's coffers -- a significant help for a state with a $9.2 billion deficit.

The state's Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) called it the "Facebook Effect," the Sacramento Bee reported, and if Facebook employees sell off their shares quickly, they could have a say in the future of California's budgetary success.

On Wednesday, Facebook filed its is S-1 paperwork for an initial public offering worth $5 billion.

However the Facebook Effect will only ease this year's deficit if employees sell off their shares before the end of the year. By selling the shares, insiders will pay state income taxes on gains, LAO forecaster Jason Sisney told the Bee.

Plus, that depends on employees selling their shares.

And, he added, it may take longer -- perhaps two years longer -- for California to start reaping the benefits of the IPO. To start, it takes a few months for the IPO paperwork to finalize. After that, employees must wait several more months before selling the shares. Even if employees start selling shares at the very beginning of the 2013, it will still be past the tax deadline for that year.

In any case, state employees aren't looking a gift horse in the mouth. A delayed Facebook Effect is better than none at all.

"On behalf of a very grateful state, I will happily go to Mark Zuckerberg's house and wash his windows or mow his lawn," H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the state Department of Finance,  joked to the Bee.

Facebook brought in $3.7 billion in revenue last year and about $1 billion in free cash flow.

Wednesday's filing showed that Mark Zuckerberg, the company's CEO and co-founder, owns 28.4 percent of the company. Co-founder Dustin Moskovitz owns 7.6 percent, early investor Peter Thiel 2.5 percent and new COO Sheryl Sandberg owns 0.1 percent of the company.

Facebook had 483 million daily active users in December of last year. 

Would you sell Facebook shares to help California? Comment below or send us a Tweet via Twitter @nbcsandiego or add your comment to our Facebook page.

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