Opinion: Why California’s good economic times aren’t better

Numbers can tell a story, and the California state budget is a murder mystery.

On Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown stood between two easels stacked with charts and warned that the good times can’t last forever.

There’s no money for new spending, he said as he unveiled the annual May revision of his January budget proposal, because although state revenues are a little higher than he thought they’d be back in January, they’re still $3.3 billion lower than state finance officials projected last June.

If these are the good times, why are state revenues lower than expected?

State Finance Director Michael Cohen said the revenue shortfall is mainly due to sales tax revenue coming in below expectations. People just didn’t make purchases at the rate that was anticipated.

Why not?

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