Spending Outside the Budget: The Costs of Signed or Vetoed Suspense Bills

When it comes to state spending, the annual budget receives most of the attention. In addition, a few major fiscal bills generate broad interest on their own, such as the gas tax or cap-and- trade plan. However, lower profile bills that pass through the Senate Appropriations Committee “Suspense” process also combine to create significant new spending. We estimated costs for these “other” bills in order to provide a broader look at the extent to which Governor Brown “holds the line” on spending through policy bills. In short, this review shows that spending through new legislation could significantly reduce the state’s operating reserves or make deficits worse in the near future.

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