LOCAL PolitiCal

Extra tax revenue sends more money to schools

SACRAMENTO -- California schools will see a hike in new money thanks to increased tax revenue during the fiscal year that just ended.

The state reaped $2.1 billion more than expected over the last year, according to Gov. Jerry Brown's administration. The money will be directed to schools under the state's constitutional education-funding formula.

Most of the extra money was derived from income taxes, which generated $1.1 billion more than expected.

"We’ve seen a surge in revenues," said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for Brown's Department of Finance. "We still caution that one or two months does not make a trend."

State officials have warned that extra revenue may have come from people cashing out investments early to avoid higher federal taxes that took effect earlier this year, and they say the hike may not last.

The final surplus is not as large as the potential $4.5-billion total the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office was discussing earlier this year, but it's further proof of California's financial turnaround after years of multibillion-dollar deficits.

The state still owes schools billions of dollars that were withheld or deferred during California's budget crisis. The Brown administration hopes to reduce that amount to zero over the next four fiscal years.

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