ALAMEDA, Calif. — California can make it through September without starting to issue IOUs, Controller John Chiang said Thursday when he released his monthly report on the state’s cash position.
California has been without a budget since the fiscal year commenced on July 1. Chiang had previously warned that his office might have to issue IOUs as soon as early September because of the state’s tight cash position.
That position eased in August, the controller reported Thursday. General fund revenue came in more than $264 million ahead of projections, and state disbursements through Aug. 31 were about $1.2 billion below estimates.
The budget deadlock is now the second-longest in California history, with the Legislature’s majority Democrats and minority Republicans at an apparent impasse over taxes and spending. Budget adoption requires two-thirds votes in each chamber, meaning at least some GOP votes are needed.
Chiang warned lawmakers that Thursday’s good news is no excuse to back off on budget negotiations.
“The budget gridlock continues to harm thousands of Californians while hampering our economic recovery,” he said. “The governor and Legislature should not view this short reprieve as an invitation to break the budget deadlock record.”
California’s latest-ever budget was adopted by lawmakers on Sept. 16, 2008, and signed a week later by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Chiang said that without a budget, his office still may have to issue IOUs for state payments in early October in order to preserve cash for creditors with higher legal standing, such as bondholders.
In 2009, Chiang issued $2 billion of IOUs, which were ultimately redeemed after a budget was adopted.
Schwarzenegger jetted off Thursday for a week-long trade mission to Asia, but Democratic budget negotiators said they were confident they would be able to stay in touch with the Republican governor if need be during his journey.