California’s Budget Deficit Is Not the Problem

Don’t Worry About Balancing the Books. It’s Our Kafkaesque State Constitution That Needs Fixing

You can tune out Gov. Newsom when he talks about the state’s big budget deficit. Ignore the pleas of Democrats who control the legislature, too. And turn the volume down when Sacramento lobbies complain about the proposed cuts.

California’s ballooning budget deficits, and the cuts to services they cause, are not a crisis. They are not really news. They are, sadly, normal and predictable.

And they are grounded not in budgeting mistakes—lapses of discipline in collecting revenue or controlling spending—but in our state constitution and in a reality so paradoxical it would …

Baseball player Shohei Ohtani smiling at the camera. He wears a white Dodgers jersey and a blue L.A. cap.

California Is Taking a Page From Shohei Ohtani’s $700 Million Deal

Newsom’s Proposed State Budget Has More Deferrals Than the Baseball Star’s Contract

Shohei Ohtani is famous for being the world’s best baseball player, the only major leaguer of the past century who can both hit and pitch at an elite level.

Perhaps he …

A Modest Proposal: Give High-Speed Rail to Unhoused Californians

Combining Two Failed Golden State Projects Could Save Both. Right?

California is spending billions to house its increasing population of unhoused people. But it hasn’t come close to building enough to meet its ambitious goal of ending homelessness. And many …

tktk | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What Happens When the ‘Indispensable Insider’ of Sacramento Steps Down?

Ana Matosantos Is a Once-in-a-Generation Financial Wizard. Without Her Sorcery, California Will Need a New Budget Whisperer

Send help, Harry Potter! Sacramento needs a new wizard!

Ana Matosantos has announced she is departing the Newsom administration at the end of the summer, telling the L.A. Times that she …

Gavin Newsom at a rally.

California’s Recall Was Worth Every Penny

When It Comes to Supporting Democratic Infrastructure, $276 Million Is a Bargain

It’s hard to think of a better bargain in our high-cost state than the failed recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom. At an estimated cost of $276 million—less than $7 …

I, the California Budget, Am Worried I Might Be Too Big | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

I, the California Budget, Am Worried I Might Be Too Big

Before We Throw More Money at Our Problems, We Need to Redesign Our Broken Systems

Do you really think that bulking me up with your billions will solve California’s post-pandemic problems?

I, the California budget, am bigger than ever right now—more than $267 billion, according to …