February 15, 2014

Vol. 29 , No. 09   

View Entire Issue (Vol. 29 , No. 09)

California's Budget and Choices for the Future
LUNCHEON 11:30 a.m.; PROGRAM 12:00 p.m.

On January 9, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his proposed 2014-15 budget for the state. Recent increases in personal income tax revenues have improved the state’s budget conditions significantly and the $151 billion proposal reflects an increase in general fund spending of $11 billion. The proposed budget would continue California’s recent progress toward a firmer fiscal footing by paying down some of the state’s “wall of debt” and proposing a $2.3 billion reserve. While critics praise these measures they argue that the proposed budget does not do enough to address California’s massive pension liabilities. As Director of the California Department of Finance, Michael Cohen directs the development of Governor Brown’s budget. He will provide an overview of key budget decisions and discuss the outlook for California’s fiscal future.

Michael Cohen was appointed as Director of the California Department of Finance by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2013. He serves as the Governor’s chief fiscal policy advisor. Prior to becoming Director, he served as Chief Deputy Director of the Department of Finance from 2011 to 2013. In this capacity, Mr. Cohen was the department’s lead contact with the state Legislature on the state budget. From 1997 to 2010, Mr. Cohen worked at the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO). While there, he served as a local government finance analyst, Director of State Administration, and Deputy Legislative Analyst.

Mr. Cohen earned a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School at the University of Texas and a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies from Stanford University.

Cohen's visit to the Athenaeum is sponsored by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at CMC.