“Honest, Balanced, and On-Time”? One Out of Three Ain’t Bad

Getty Images

The praise being directed at Gov. Jerry Brown's budget shows how we're now grading budgets on a curve, as Mark Paul explains here. It also reminds me of an annoying habit of mine.

When I'm driving home, my wife is often very good about calling me to remind me to pick something up at the store.

And about half the time, I get lost in my thoughts, or in talking with a child in the backseat, and I forget. By not stopping, I'm home on time. My wife is happy to see me, but she also wishes that I'd brought the milk.

This budget is like that.

It was passed on time -- before the July 1 beginning of the fiscal year -- but it's missing some things. Things more important than milk.

Fortunately, I've never rushed home having left the kids' college funds by the side of the road.

This budget cuts the state's two university systems by $650 million each -- with more cuts possible under a trigger mechanism.

That hasn't stopped Gov. Jerry Brown from touting his budget as "honest" and balanced." And Brown is an honest man.

Or so the press tells me. I don't see the honesty or balance in a plan that is built on rosy assumptions about revenues and what the state may do in the courts.

You may think differently, depending on how you think about this situation.

You're selling a company and a guy comes to you and says he wants to buy it with $4 billion he doesn't have, but is expecting to receive as the economy recovers. 

If you're the seller in that situation and think the buyer is honest and sell him the company, then, yes, you think this California budget is honest.

The truth is: an honest budget isn't possible in California. Even if the state remembered to stop at the store, its system doesn't leave it with the capacity to pay for the groceries and get them safely home.

Contact Us