California ends fiscal year with extra cash for first time since 2007

California marked another financial milestone last month, ending the fiscal year with leftover cash for the first time since 2007, according to a new report from the state controller.

The general fund had $1.5 billion in cash as of June 30, the report said.

That means the state hasn't needed to shuffle money among various accounts in order to pay its day-to-day bills, a common tactic during California's budget crises.

"While this is welcome news after seven years of record-high borrowing just to pay our everyday bills, we still have much work to do," Controller John Chiang said in a statement. "Another down cycle in the economy is inevitable -- we just don’t know when or how prolonged it might be."

Lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown finalized the state's new budget last month, including a plan to continue paying down billions of dollars in debt. If tax revenue remains strong, the "wall of debt," which includes some borrowing and deferred payments, will be eliminated by 2018.

The budget also lays out a strategy for plugging a $74-billion shortfall in the teacher pension fund over the next three decades.

However, other challenges remain, such as tens of billions of dollars in overdue maintenance, and rising costs for healthcare for retired state workers.

Follow @chrismegerian for more updates from Sacramento.

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