SACRAMENTO -- The surge of revenue that showed up unexpectedly in state coffers last month has been the source of all manner of speculation here. When all the tax receipts were counted, the state had collected more than $5 billion beyond what had been initially projected for January.
That is more tax dollars than are allocated to the entire state university system in a year. The revenue bump was historic.
The question for budget experts was whether the windfall was real money that lawmakers could begin allocating toward government programs and tax breaks -- or whether it amounted to an accounting anomaly that would be offset by a huge dip in revenue later in the budget year.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget office now advises in an official cash report that it is probably the latter. Lawmakers need not do very much reading between the lines to realize that Brown does not see the surge as occasion to pack the budget with extra spending.