California’s Spending by the Numbers
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Policy Study

California’s Spending by the Numbers

A Historic Look at State Spending from Gov. Pete Wilson to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Since former Gov. George Deukmejian’s final budget in Fiscal Year 1990-91, California’s spending has skyrocketed 181 percent. Spending nearly tripled from $51.4 billion in FY 1990-91 to $144.5 billion in FY 2008-09. Are California’s taxpayers getting higher quality services than they did in the 90s? They should be. In FY 1990-91 the state spent $1,350 per capita. Today, the government spends $2,644 per person.

Politicians often blame falling revenues for California’s budget woes, but state revenues jumped 167 percent between 1990 and 2008. In FY 1990-91, the state took in over $38 billion in General Fund revenues. By FY 2008-09 revenues were $102 billion. If California had simply limited its spending increases to the 4.38 percent average increase in the state’s consumer price index and population growth each year since FY 1990-91, the state would be sitting on a $15 billion surplus right now.