Sunday, February 27, 2011

California voters approved a crushing debt load, now it's time to pay

Voters have approved borrowing in the last 10 years for such causes as stem-cell research ($3 billion), high-speed rail ($10 billion), and parks, water and the environment ($14 billion). They even took on $15 billion in debt to paper over a deficit that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said would never reemerge — something economists have scolded the state for doing.

Because of its rock-bottom credit rating, California pays a premium for its loans. Taxpayers must fork over roughly $2 for every $1 borrowed — about 20% more than top-rated states, said Matt Fabian, an analyst at Municipal Market Advisors, a bond research firm.