SACRAMENTO— California's independent legislative analyst on Wednesday offered a rosier financial forecast for the state than in the last several years, projecting annual operating surpluses approaching $10 billion a year by the 2017-18 fiscal year if current spending and revenue policies continue.
Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor said revenue is expected to grow faster than spending for at least the next five years.
"The state's budgetary condition is stronger than at any point in the last decade," he said in the report.
Taylor credits restrained spending by the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown, the improving economy, and temporary increases in sales and income taxes voters approved last year. He projects a $5.6 billion reserve by July 2015.
It's a dramatic turnaround from the multibillion-dollar deficits of a few years ago. Taylor warned that California's tax structure still leaves it vulnerable to swings in the stock market, so he said lawmakers should not commit extra money to new programs.