HEADLINES : California
State's Rare Sight: A Budget Surplus
California is predicting a surplus for its next fiscal year, in a turnaround from the steep deficits of recent times, as cost cuts, tax increases and an improving economy have started to put the state on firmer financial footing.
"Right now, for the next four years, we're talking about a balanced budget, we're talking about living within our means," said Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, as he unveiled his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, which begins on July 1. "This is new."
California expects general-fund revenue to rise 3.3% to $98.5 billion from $95.4 billion in the current fiscal year, representing the highest level since 2007. The increase comes as California's economy has improved considerably since the recession that hit the state especially hard. The unemployment rate fell to 9.8% in November from 11.3% a year ago.