There couldn't be a worse time for a new governor to take office, right?
The Legislative Analyst's Office just announced California's budget is $25 billion out of whack, a month after lawmakers approved what they claimed – though never believed – was a balanced budget, 100 days late.
Economists predict that California won't regain the jobs that have been lost during the recession until 2016. There's more. The state fund that pays unemployment benefits to 2.3 million jobless Californians faces a $20 billion deficit.
To outsiders, California might seem a little like the Monty Python character whose arms are chopped off in a sword fight and declares it's only a flesh wound.
But in a weird way, this could be an ideal time for Jerry Brown to return to the Capitol, as he will this week. Assuming the Big One doesn't hit and separate California farther from the rest of the nation, the situation can't get much worse.
For all the talk of doom, deficit and general decline, wealthy individuals still bet on California's future. In the process, they could provide Brown with a much needed hand.
One is Tom Steyer, a hedge fund billionaire from San Francisco who donated $5 million to defeat Proposition 23, the Texas and Kansas oil companies' failed initiative that sought to unravel California's law to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gases.
Steyer intends to build on the political organization established to defeat Proposition 23, creating a nonprofit entity that would advocate on behalf of implementing the climate-change law, Assembly Bill 32.
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