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By Steve Levy

California Budget Myths

Uploaded: Jul 8, 2010

State leaders have acted as usual to make state budget decisions in secret with the only access to the public is through the posturing that both parties put forth. So even though state budget decisions are important for Palo Alto residents I wouldn't blame anyone for not paying much attention to the threats and political posturing that passes for "tough budget choices".

However, some of the allegations about budget numbers are so far off base I thought I would make up a short quiz for any interested readers.

Question 1--Is California Like Greece

Greece's current budget deficit is 9.9% of their GDP. In the U.S. the current budget deficit is 9.4% of GDP. For California the budget deficit (around $18 billion) is what percent of our economy

a) 1%
b) 4%
c) 7%
d) 10%
e) 12%

Question 2--Does CA have too many state employees

The U.S. average for state employees per 10,000 residents is 143. Texas has 119 employees per 10,000 residents. California has

a) 103
b) 120
c) 140
d) 160
e) 180

Question 3--Is State Budget Spending Out of Control

In 1994 at the end of the long recession California allocated 5.7% of residents' personal income to General Fund spending. At the height of the boom the share was 7.0% and in 2007 the share was 6.6%. In the Governor's proposed 2010-2011 budget the proposed spending as a share of 2010 income is

a) 5.2%
b) 5.8%
c) 6.2%
d) 6.8%
e) 7.3%

The answers are "a" in each case. If you want to read the details you can read them below.

Budget Myth 1

Budget Myth 2

Budget Myth 3