Who Should Get Those January Revenues?

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

California has a problem: more money than anticipated. What to do?

Nearly $5 billion more than expected came into the state in January. That might be good news. But this is the Brown era, an era when there’s nothing so sexy as austerity and frugality, and everyone in the know can tell you that we just can’t go back to spending any money. So these days, money is a problem. What to do?

The state could try to sock the money in one of its various rainy-day or reserve funds. But those funds don’t really work – they’re tiny and easy to raid.

And a proposal for a bigger rainy day fund has been delayed so often it may never be voted on. So that’s out.

A tax rebate? You’re kidding, right?

What’s needed is some place within the government that can be trusted to hold onto a bunch of money, and not spend it. This should be a department that can quietly hold money, without anyone noticing it.

Ladies and gentlemen, the only place to put such an unexpected windfall is the Department of Parks.

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