The state’s nearly 40-year-old spending limit law is on the fast track to a date in court. While the state senate budget committee yesterday agreed  with the governor’s framework for the budget, which excludes $22 billion from the spending limit, a number of lawyers have concerns or outright disagree.

I expect the courts will be called on to referee different interpretations of the spending limit.

If critics of Gov. Brown’s position are correct in their interpretation of the Gann spending limit, named after chief proponent and anti-tax activist Paul Gann, then cuts in the budget are sure to follow with funds returned to taxpayers and shared with schools.

The legislative counsel raised concerns with the governor’s interpretation of the spending limit at yesterday’s hearing. The counsel’s concerns agree with issues raised by the Legislative Analyst’s interpretation of the spending limit in viewing the governor’s plan. In fact, the Analyst tabbed Brown’s classification of the $22 billion as “nowhere money” because the governor’s budget did not fit the funds into any appropriate category.

At the time of the Legislative Analyst’s report in March, I went into detail about the end run around the Gann spending limit. You can find that column here.

The Legislative Analyst report suggested possible legal challenges if the Brown proposal is adopted. Now the legislative counsel warns of legal problems for the spending plan.

At the end of my March column, I quoted Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association saying if Jarvis lawyers concurred with the analysis of a spending limit violation, “Subsequent legal action cannot be ruled out.”

In a previous legal position before joining the Jarvis Association, Coupal served as Paul Gann’s lawyer and advisor on occasion. Look for the spending limit issue on the high-speed rail to court.