Gov. Gavin Newsom’s penchant for braggadocio was in full flower eight months ago when he declared that California had a $97.5 billion budget surplus and boasted that “no other state in American history has ever experienced a surplus as large as this.”

He and the Legislature then wrote a 2022-23 budget with major increases in education, medical care and social services, plus a multi-billion-dollar cash rebate to taxpayers and other one-time expenditures.

On Tuesday, a more subdued Newsom acknowledged that the projected surplus had morphed into a $22.5 billion shortfall. He proposed a $297 billion 2023-24 budget that throttles back some of the additional spending and indirectly borrows billions of dollars to close the gap.

CALmatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California's state Capitol works and why it matters. Dan Walters has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers.

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