California Debt Watch ResumedWSJ:
NEW YORK—California, owner of the worst credit ranking among U.S. states, plans to tap bond markets for $4 billion in March to finance infrastructure improvements, a spokesman for State Treasurer Bill Lockyer said.
The sales-a pair spaced several weeks apart—would come at a time that the Golden State's budget is bleeding about $20 billion in red ink through fiscal 2011 and when some portfolio managers have cautioned that investments in California debt are turning riskier.
The state, however, is counting on a new cash-management tool that it expects to gain legislative approval Monday to put a floor under its short-term needs and to improve both market and investor confidence in the finances of the world's eighth-largest economy.
"We need a credible solution to our cash-flow situation," and this legislation will help Controller John Chiang and the Department of Finance to defer general-fund payments for specific programs and for specific time periods, if needed, in order to maintain an adequate cash cushion, Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for Mr. Lockyer, said in a telephone interview Sunday.
The program would remain in place for the balance of this fiscal year, ending June 30, and through the next fiscal year, giving the financial officials more flexibility by not having to seek legislative approval each time.
"California is done with financing its deficits with the issuance of bonds," Mr. Dresslar stated Sunday.
Thus endeth the nobel experiment in democracy. not with revolution but with a "cash-management tool."