Capitol Alert

California state spending well above national average

Gov. Jerry Brown unveils the 2015-16 state budget at the Capitol in Sacramento on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015.
Gov. Jerry Brown unveils the 2015-16 state budget at the Capitol in Sacramento on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. hamezcua@sacbee.com

California contains 12.2 percent of the nation’s population but its state government accounted for 13.8 percent of all state spending in the 2012-13 fiscal year, according to a new Census Bureau report.

California’s spending on education and highways was, however, below the national averages for those two categories, while its welfare spending was well above the average.

States collected $1.7 trillion in revenues and spent that much during the fiscal year and California accounted for $233.5 billion of the spending, including federal pass-through funds for welfare, health care, education and other services.

The national total was a 2.1 percent increase from the previous year, the Census Bureau said, while California’s 7.5 percent increase was by far the largest of any state.

The 2012-13 state budget was the first to spend money from a sales and income tax increase approved by voters in November 2012. Most of that money went to education, which saw a 10.3 percent gain, also the highest of any state.

Despite California’s sharp increase in spending on K-12 and higher education to $80.2 billion, its 34.4 percent share of total state expenditures was under the national average of 35.6 percent.

At 5.7 percent, California’s highway spending in 2012-13 was lower than the 6.1 percent of the previous year and also lower than the national average of 6.7 percent.

At 34.3 percent of total spending, however, California’s $80 billion in outlays for welfare were not only $11 billion higher than the previous year, but well over the national average of 30.8 percent.

Editor’s note: This post was corrected at 10 p.m. Feb. 3, 2014 to say that states collected $1.7 trillion in revenue.

Call The Bee’s Dan Walters, (916) 321-1195. Back columns, www.sacbee.com/dan-walters. Follow him on Twitter

@WaltersBee.

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