About that half-billion dollars
|CW's John Howard has a great story today about what happened to a half-billion dollars promised in the budget by legislative Dems and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at the depths of the budget deficits two years ago.|
When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote his first state budget, he floated an unusual idea to collect nearly a half-billion dollars: Let the state take 75 cents of every dollar that juries award in punitive damages. The Legislature eagerly bought into the idea for the cash-strapped state, and the budget was written on the assumption that the money would be there.
It wasn't. In fact, it never has been.
Two years later, that $450 million still hasn't materialized. Amazingly, not even a penny has flowed into the state Public Benefit Trust Fund, which was expressly set up to handle the punitive-damage money. This gap between the administration's promise and pocketbook reality is remarkable, even in the smoke-and-mirrors world of state budgeting that, in the end, is based on sophisticated expectations of revenue and expenses.