Reis Thebault at WP:

Two years ago, California was so flush that Gov. Gavin Newsom was moved to make a bold declaration about the state’s estimated $100 billion budget surplus.and presidential bona fides…But fast-forward to 2024 and the situation has swung wildly in the opposite direction: The state — still the wealthiest and most populous in the nation — is facing a nearly $50 billion budget shortfall in the coming fiscal year, testing its commitment to an increasingly liberal agenda advanced in recent years.

 The state has increased spending by more than 60 percent over the last five years, said Lee E. Ohanian, an economics professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. And on several high-profile issues — especially housing and homelessness — Californians have seen little gain from the spree, he said.

In April, for example, a statewide audit found that California has failed to track the effectiveness of some of its largest homelessness programs, meaning leaders have allocated $24 billion to tackle the crisis over the last five fiscal years and aren’t sure how well it’s working.

“We’re paying the price for this very grandiose vision for the state, which lacked accountability and oversight and we’re left holding the bag,” Ohanian said. “Now the party is over, we’re cleaning up the kitchen and we’re realizing these problems that have been in place for many years have gotten worse.”