Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Latest California Budget Proposal Not the Best News for CIRM

California Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing a "dramatically" reduced sale of state bonds, which are the only real source of income for the California stem cell agency, during the coming fiscal year.

His plan was contained in what is the known as the May revise of the governor's budget. Randall Jensen(no relation to this writer) wrote today in The Bond Buyer, a newswpaper devoted to public finance, that the plan is part of an effort to reduce what Brown called California's $81 billion "wall of debt."  Jensen said,
"The state already skipped its usual springtime general obligation bond issue at Brown’s behest. The revised budget proposal calls for selling only about $1.5 billion of GO (general obligation) bonds in the fall, as the state’s only GO issue of calendar year 2011, after selling $10.5 billion of GOs in 2010."
Brown also proposed a $2.4 billion bond sale in the spring of 2012. He said the state currently has a backlog of $48.2 billion in unsold bonds.

If CIRM bonds are not part of the fall sale, it could lead to a cash flow crunch at CIRM, which says it has only enough funds on hand to meet its current commitments through about June of 2012. Competition for inclusion in the bond sale is likely to be stiff.

Brown's bond sales plans also assume enactment of his budget. However, Republicans have in the past  successfully blocked tax increases, which are part of the spending plan, because of the requirement of a two-thirds vote for approval.

(Editor's note: An earlier version of this item incorrectly indicated that CIRM had funds through June. The correct date is about June of 2012.) Sphere: Related Content

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