The Corner

Time to Take California Out Behind the Barn and Shoot It?

Golden State debt might hit half a trillion. Dan Walters:

Just days before Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislators finalized a water package, including an $11.1 billion bond issue, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer warned them not to do it.

California is already deeply in debt, Lockyer warned, has huge budget deficits and can’t afford another big bond issue.

“The days of blithely heaping more and more debt burden on the general fund are over – at least they should be,” Lockyer said.

The earmark-laden bond issue, the package’s single most controversial element, raises an interesting question: Just how deeply in debt are our state and local governments?

The answer: No one knows for certain, since debt is scattered through myriad agencies in many forms, but well over a half-trillion dollars is a fair estimate.

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