SACRAMENTO -- Earlier this week, Gov. Jerry Brown surprised budget watchers with his pessimistic outlook for California’s future, predicting that state revenues will come in about $2 billion lower next year than his administration thought in January.
Now, the Legislature’s number crunchers will make their predictions.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office will release its own revenue forecast Friday afternoon, setting the stage for the next four weeks of budget negotiations before the June 15 constitutional deadline.
Brown blamed federal cuts associated with the sequester and a January increase in the payroll tax for the weak economic numbers.
If the Legislative Analyst’s Office’s revenue figures come in higher that Brown's, it could give political cover for Democratic lawmakers who want to restore some safety net programs that have been cut over the last several years.
Craig Brown, who served as director of the Department of Finance under Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, said the job of making these economic predictions has grown increasingly difficult, and that Brown’s numbers seem plausible.
“Everybody said sequestration was going to have an economic impact,” he said. “Hell, the president said it. So the fact that the state budget shows it is having an economic impact is not surprising.”
The Legislative Analyst’s Office’s revenue forecasts, and its preliminary analysis of Brown’s revised budget, is expected to be released about noon. Stay tuned to PolitiCal for updates.