In his latest update on the state’s financial situation to the governor and legislature, California’s controller begins: “On May 29, 2009, I informed you of the precarious nature of the state’s cash condition and alerted you to impending risks which threaten the state’s ability to meet its payment obligations. The situation has not improved.”
In short, Controller John Chiang says that in the absence of legislative action, the state will not have sufficient cash to meet all of its payment obligations on July 28. “By July 31, the cash deficit will increase to a negative $2.78 billion,” he reports.
“In April, the state’s cash balance will fall to a negative $25.3 billion – the lowest point projected for Fiscal Year 2009-10,” Chiang adds. “To put this shortfall into proper perspective, it is five times the $5.1 billion cash deficit we faced this past spring.”
Chiang reports that with a negative cash balance of $1.02 billion at the end of July, the “low point” for 2009-10 is $22 billion.
In other words, the state will run out of cash in less than 50 days without “corrective action” by the legislature and governor. And borrowing is not an answer, since investors would view the deal with “heavy skepticism,” he says.Although the legislature has been “talking” these past few weeks after the defeat at the special election last month, absolutely nothing concrete has emerged. Imagine what would happen to Caltrans if the state has no cash to pay its bills – every highway project, stimulus-funded or not, could come to a crashing halt and the agency would have to do some massive layoffs.
This is scary – and obscene at the same time….
Okay, now for some good news: A new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts finds more than 125,500 clean energy jobs have already been created in the state, and the sector saw job growth even in the recession.
Lori Grange, interim deputy director for the Pew Center on the States, says this is the first time actual jobs have been counted, and they documented job growth even during the recession.
“Billions of venture capital dollars for clean tech have poured into the state, helping jobs in California’s clean energy sector grow 15% faster than overall jobs between 1998 and 2007.”
California provides financial incentives for clean energy. For example, the Green Building Action Plan, which aims for public buildings to be 20% more energy efficient by 2015, could save the state $100 million each year, according to proponents.
Phyllis Cuttino, director of the U.S. Global Warming Campaign for the Pew Environment Group, says elected leaders, businesses and everyday working folks are seeing opportunities for transitioning to a clean energy economy.
“There’s a real future for good, well-paying jobs for workers of all skill sets across American if we just make the right investments,” she says.
Critics of previous reports on how a clean energy economy could lead to job growth and business investments pointed to flaws in formulas used to make estimates. The report counted actual jobs and investments. Nationally, jobs in the clean energy economy grew at a rate of about 9% from 1998 to 2007, while total jobs grew at less than half that rate.
The full report, The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses and Investments Across America, can be viewed online at www.pewtrusts.org.Tw