Out of Control Policy Blog

California highest spending state in nation by a LONG ways

I don't think anyone could be more cynical than I am about how outrageous CA state spending is, but I was stunned by this post from Dan Walters in the Sacto Bee:

Cal by far the highest-spending state

In the midst of a historically severe state budget crisis, the Census Bureau has released new data indicating that when it comes to spending money, California stands alone among the states.

The new Census Bureau report tags total state spending last year at $233.6 billion, roughly 15 percent of the state's economic output. The total includes not only the state's general fund spending, roughly $100 billion, but proceeds of special fund revenues, such as gasoline taxes, borrowed money and federal funds.

California's total is about half-again as big as the second-place state, New York, and well over twice that of Texas. It is, moreover, 65 times as much as that of the least-spending state, South Dakota.

Not surprisingly, California's total spending last year was $33 billion more than its total revenues, with bond proceeds accounting for most of the difference. The largest spending category was education at $72.8 billion, followed by welfare at $56.3 billion and health care, including hospitals, at $17.7 billion.

The Census Bureau says California was $114.7 billion in debt last year. The full report, including finances of other states, is available here.

Since CA voters approved more than $12 billion in bonds last month, there is no sign they know or care about this. Hence, it isn't likely to get better any time soon.

Hat tip to Mike Turnipseed's Kerntax eletter.

Adrian Moore is Vice President, Policy


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