Today is the constitutional deadline for passage of a state budget, but as you might guess, the folks in Sacramento are a little late in getting the thing done. All right, a lot late. Controller John Chiang sent out a letter today to the governor and the four legislative leaders that provides the now-familiar warnings of financial distress should the stalemate last well into the summer. Already, California's general fund has a zero cash balance. From the letter:
The state is temporarily able to meet all of its payment obligations by borrowing heavily from approximately $20 billion in special funds. Sometime in July, these funds will be exhausted and the state will be forced to defer payments to schools and local governments as authorized by Chapter 1, Statute of 2010 (ABX8-5) to conserve cash for payments that must be made under the Constitution and federal law. These deferrals are only authorized for July and August 2010 and the state will fall well below a prudent cushion in September.