Whatever the details in a revised state budget Gov. Jerry Brown will present today, the plan will reflect the extraordinary distance California's economy has traveled since Brown took office in January of 2011.
Brown, who began his second run as governor in the midst of the Great Recession, inherited a jaw-dropping $27 billion budget deficit. His first budget called for massive layoffs, furloughs of state workers and slashes to funding for education, health care and other core programs.
Painful as it was, in some ways the hole proved to be a well-disguised blessing as it allowed the governor to take dramatic steps to reshape state government in ways that might otherwise not have been possible. As the saying goes, "never let a good crisis go to waste."
The "May revise" Brown will unveil later this morning includes the most recent revenues collected by the state since he revealed his first draft back in January. As of a week ago, the state Department of Finance said revenues were running about $3.3 billion ahead of the January projections.
The 2018-19 state budget Brown proposed in January was a $131.7 billion general fund plan, with healthy contributions to the rainy day fund that voters approved in 2014. Under the governor's plan the fund, which is intended to cushion pain from the next economic downturn, would have $13.5 billion by the end of the next fiscal year.