Yesterday my political party (Democratic) incorrectly tweeted that California was “paying down debt.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
Net, California added more than $200 billion in debt over the last decade. The only debt paid down was budgetary debt of ~$30 billion, a small fraction of added debt of more than $250 billion.
The consequences of increasing debt are decreasing shares of government budgets being available for services, illustrating Thomas Piketty’s point in Capital In The 21st Century that debt “devours the future.”
Outstanding GO and self-liquidating debt increased more than $20 billion. See Figure 8, page 9, https://www.treasurer.ca.gov/publications/dar/2017.pdf and Figure 1, https://www.treasurer.ca.gov/publications/dar/2007.pdf
School pension debt increased $85 billion to $107 billion. See Schedule 13, page 134, in https://www.calstrs.com/sites/main/files/file-attachments/cafr2017.pdf and http://www.pionline.com/article/20180511/ONLINE/180519963/calstrs-funded-status-declines-to-626-following-rate-of-return-decrease.
State and local pension debt increased more than $100 billion. See Exhibit A, page 120, https://www.calpers.ca.gov/docs/forms-publications/cafr-2017.pdf.
State OPEB Debt increased more than $45 billion. See page 4, https://www.sco.ca.gov/Content-Images/ARD/AV_Report_July_1_2007.pdf and page 6, https://www.sco.ca.gov/Content-Images/ARD/AV_Report_June_30_2017.pdf.
Budgetary debt declined $29 billion. See page 12, http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/2018-19/pdf/BudgetSummary/FullBudgetSummary.pdf.
Not including OPEB debt added by schools and local governments or pension and OPEB debt added by the University of California.