90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
California’s Budget Surplus

After years of fiscal trouble, California’s looking at a budget surplus. We’ll look at how they did it and the lessons there.

Gov. Jerry Brown points to a chart showing an increase in education funding in his proposed 2013-14 state budget. (AP)

Gov. Jerry Brown points to a chart showing an increase in education funding in his proposed 2013-14 state budget. (AP)

Since the financial meltdown of ’08, California has often been the national poster child for bad state finances.  Huge fights.  Vicious politics.  Scary red ink.  Bloody cuts in spending on fundamentals.  Prisons.  Schools.

And then last week, there was California Governor Jerry Brown, front and center, talking rebound.  California’s budget deficit, he declared, gone.  New money for K-12.  A billion set aside for a rainy day.  It’s kind of amazing.

This hour, On Point:  How did they do that?  California’s fiscal turnaround, and lessons – if they’re there – for the country.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Vauhini Vara, covers California politics for the Wall Street Journal.

Joe Matthews, fellow at the New America Foundation. Co-author, with Mark Paul, of “California Crackup: How Reform Broke The Golden State and How We Can Fix It.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Sacramento Bee “Riding a wave of new tax revenue, California’s spending plan for the coming fiscal year will rise by nearly $5 billion, a powerful indication that the state that came to symbolize fiscal mismanagement during the heart of the recession is emerging into brighter days.”

The Wall Street Journal “California expects general-fund revenue to rise 3.3% to $98.5 billion from $95.4 billion in the current fiscal year, representing the highest level since 2007. The increase comes as California’s economy has improved considerably since the recession that hit the state especially hard. The unemployment rate fell to 9.8% in November from 11.3% a year ago.”

Salon “The governor listed a number of factors that could undermine his budget plan, including uncertain action by Congress to raise the federal debt ceiling, potential increases in health care costs and whether courts or the federal government block some of his proposed spending cuts.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 30, 2014
Soylent is a new meal-replacement substance meant to offer a complete nutritional alternative to traditional food. (Courtesy Soylent)

Soylent is a grey smoothie the consistency of pancake batter that claims it can replace all your food. On a crowded planet, is this the future of food? Plus: what does the Antares rocket crash mean for private space travel?

 
Oct 30, 2014
Realtor Helen Hertz stands in front of one of her listings in Cleveland Heights, Ohio Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Hertz, a real estate agent for more than three decades, has seen firsthand what has happened to the market in the wake of the recession and foreclosure crisis. (AP)

Home ownership rates are at a 20-year low. Millennials and more aren’t buying. We’ll look at what American’s think now about owning a home.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Three: What Is The Dow Jones Industrial Average?
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We dig in to that all-important, all-confusing daily stock notice: the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 31, 2014
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We tumble for ya, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Tuco the Massachusetts K-9 Unit puppy in training.

More »
1 Comment
 
Awards Season 2014: The Movies Worth Your Time
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

What movies should you watch before 2014 comes to a close? Our critics offer their picks for the movies of the season right here.

More »
Comment