It's official. California is rolling in dough, at least for now.
The state's fiscal review office said Wednesday the budget is poised to finish January $5 billion ahead of forecasts for the month.
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office told The Bee last week that it believed the state would finish the month $4 billion ahead based on record payments from quarterly tax filers through the middle of January. The boom is compared to a monthly forecast Gov. Jerry Brown issued just 20 days ago.
California income tax revenues are notoriously difficult to predict in any year, but a mix of rare state and federal tax changes that affect top earners has complicated this particular tax season. The LAO believes that three factors could be at play: 1) The prospect of higher 2013 federal tax rates prompted top earners to take more capital gains and dividends in 2012; 2) a retroactive state income tax hike prompted wealthy earners to pay the state earlier than expected; and 3) the economy improved more than the experts predicted.
It's also possible, of course, that the usual flood of money coming in after the April 15 tax deadline could be smaller than expected for some of the same reasons.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Washington-based Corporation for Enterprise Development found that Californians rank 38th among the states in economic security by such indices as poverty rate, savings and net worth. The report said nearly half of California residents have no savings on which to rely in the event of job loss, illness or "other income-depleting emergency."
"Why not start off the year breaking bread and balancing budgets?"
ROBIN SWANSON, communications director for Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, as Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday began a series of private dinners with lawmakers