The San Jose Mercury News showed a graph of the state budget on the front page today. It explains the California budget crisis better than anything. (I'd give the link, but the paper has a terrible web site.)
The graph shows Calif. revenues and expenses at about $60B in 1996, and growing rapidly. Then in 1999, at the peak of the dot-com boom, the state got a huge windfall in revenues. Immediately afterwards, state expenses accelerated upward sharply. Then in 2000, the dot-coms collapsed, and revenues leveled off. But expenses continued to skyrocket for a couple of years, reaching $105B. Now the state has a huge deficit.
Now the governor is announcing budget cuts and tax increases. It is obvious that he has been extravagantly overspending for 2 years, and postponing the pain until after all the guilty parties could be re-elected in Nov. 2002.
Too bad the Republican challenger Bill Simon wasn't smart enough to expose what Gray Davis was doing. That chart should have been on his campaign materials, as it shows how completely irresponsible Gray Davis has been.
Because we have had deficits for a couple of years, the debt is now about $35B, as I understand it. And this does not even include the billions of dollars that Gray Davis has wasted in his re-regulation of the electric utilities.