California Governor’s Proposed 2016-17 Budget: An Exercise in Creative Writing?

Last week I posted an item on California Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed 2016-17 state budget, which falls short on higher education funding.  In that post I relied heavily on the findings of the nonpartisan California Budget and Policy Center‘s “First Look” at the proposed budget.   Now the Center has published another comment on the proposal, which calls the Brown budget an “exercise in creative writing.”  While this comment makes no reference to higher education (or, for that matter, K-12 education), I thought it might be of interest to some readers, especially those in California.  Here are the opening paragraphs:

Last week, Governor Jerry Brown released his proposed budget for the 2016-17 state fiscal year, which begins on July 1. We hope that you’ve read our statement on the Governor’s proposal here and our “first look” analysis of key budget proposals. In our guide to California’s state budget process, Dollars and Democracy, we point out that each year’s proposed budget is a political document, reflecting the Governor’s view of the world: the Governor’s revenue and spending estimates, the Governor’s proposals, and the Governor’s rationale for those proposals. But while the proposed 2016-17 spending plan is in these ways a political document, many notable parts of this budget also represent an exercise in creative writing.

A number of statements highlighted below can be found in the introduction to the Governor’s Budget Summary, where he presents his case for his proposals. As we discuss, these statements diverge in some important ways from recent facts. And, these statements also happen to support the Governor’s position to use the state’s strong revenues for building budget reserves instead of boosting key investments in the state’s economic future.

The full piece may be found at

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