The following is a guest column jointly authored by Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway and Assembly Budget Committee Vice Chairman Jim Nielsen…
As California begins to debate the 2012-13 budget, we wanted to share with you a new budget resource that will be available. The Assembly Republican Caucus will be launching the “California Budget Fact Check” website – www.cabudgetfactcheck.com. This site will present factually valid statistical data on the California state budget. The goal of the website is to be a reliable “go-to” resource for continually-updated, fresh budget information.
With the advent of the majority vote budget, there has been a growing lack of timely non-partisan information on the budget. Additionally, much of the technical information provided by the administration and by the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office lacks context. Throughout the year, California Budget Fact Check will be updated utilizing data from the Department of Finance, the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the Controller and other relevant state agencies. In addition to the raw numbers, California Budget Fact Check will put these numbers into context.
Our first California Budget Fact Check will be released today and can be found at www.cabudgetfactcheck.com. It analyzes revenue increases in the current and the 2012-13 fiscal years as well as the projected growth over the next five years. While the media recently reported the fact that that the state faces a projected $9.2 billion deficit, most of the stories missed some important facts about state revenues including:
· Revenues are growing at a strong pace. In fact, Personal Income Tax (PIT) collections are $10 billion higher than the Governor’s January 2011 projections over the two fiscal years, even though Republicans rejected the Governor’s tax increase.
· Big 3 taxes are expected to grow $4.5 billion in the 2012-13 fiscal year over the 2011-12 budget even if the taxes are rejected by voters. Personal income taxes will make up the bulk of that increase, growing at 7.9%.
· Over the next five years, revenues are expected to grow at a healthy rate of 5.7% annually without tax increases, outpacing family income which is expected to grow only 5.1% annually.
We also hope California Budget Fact Check will be a tool where you can add your voice to the budget process in Sacramento. The site will feature interactive features where you can send us your ideas for government reform and eliminating government waste, and weigh in on tax increase proposals and other budget measures considered throughout the year.
We hope you will find California Budget Fact Check to be a useful resource. Please share www.cabudgetfactcheck.com with other interested parties and visit the website often during this year’s budget debate.
Connie Conway Jim Nielsen
Assembly Republican Leader Assembly Republican Budget Vice-Chair