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Only $1 Billion in Trigger Cuts! Merry Christmas!

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Here's a sure sign your state is in deep trouble: when the governor delivers -- just in time for the holidays -- the "good news" that he's only going to have to trigger $1 billion in mid-year budget cuts. 

    That's what Gov. Jerry Brown did today, and yes, the news could have been worse. Some $2 billion in trigger cuts had been anticipated.

    But Brown's department of finance came up with a much more optimistic assessment of how short revenues would be. Only $2.2 billion! Merry Christmas!

    A previous estimate by the Legislative Analyst's Office -- Bah, humbug -- had put the shortage at close to $4 billion for the current budget year--which made sense since the budget was closed with $4 billion in revenue assumptions. Fortunately, the department of finance -- which unlike the independent LAO works for the governor -- embraced the spirit of the season.

    That means only $1 billion in cuts.

    Congratulations, higher education.

    Merry Christmas, disabled programs.

    Happy new year, local government. You're getting cut, but it could have been much worse.

    Now, some people out there -- the sort of people who practice human sacrifice and math -- might point out that the numbers here don't add up. A $2.2 billion shortfall in revenues produces only $1 billion in cuts.

    What happened to the other $1.2 billion? Isn't this trigger business just another gimmick for backdoor borrowing and pushing costs into the future?

    C'mon, don't be a Scrooge. We'll worry about the future when the future arrives, after the holidays.

    A state like California needs to celebrate good news every chance it gets.

    So grab a cup of egg nog and let's sing a few carols. "We Three Kings..." OK, well we had to cut it down to two kings.

    But you know what, it could have been none. 

    Let us know what you think. Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @PropZero or add your comment to our Facebook page.