The Los Angeles Times has an interesting Interactive On Balancing The California Budget.

Try your hand at closing California’s budget shortfall, estimated at $24 billion. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Cut spending, raise taxes and/or borrow to get the state out of the red. For each choice — drawn from proposals from across the political spectrum — we’ve tried to give some sense of the effects. As you craft your proposal, the Deficit Meter will show your progress.

The Times says “It’s not easy” but I think it is trivial. In fact I ended up with a $4.469 billion surplus as shown below.

click on chart for sharper image

To achieve that I did not vote for any “One Time Fixes” but I did vote to increase taxes on Cigarettes and Alcohol. The latter was in case some of the “it may be illegal” things (that need to happen) I voted for get discarded. Certainly if any taxes have to be raised I would look at sin taxes first.

The big problem I have with the exercise is that it does not include some of the things that desperately need to be done like privatizing all prison guards, legalizing marijuana, scrapping state defined benefit pension plans and eliminating countless programs not mentioned.

Balancing California’s budget is trivial.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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