By Dale Kasler
At least one prominent economist says Gov. Jerry Brown is underestimating the strength of the recovery in his new budget proposal.
Chris Thornberg, a Los Angeles consultant who advises State Controller John Chiang, said today he believes tax revenue in the upcoming fiscal year could top Brown's forecast by around $4 billion.
Thornberg, head of Beacon Economics, called the governor's forecast "bizarrely low."
Brown's official economic outlook, released along with the budget Thursday, calls for a "guardedly positive" outlook but says unemployment rates will average 12 percent throughout the next year. California's unemployment has already fallen to 11.3 percent as of November.
Thornberg acknowledged that he's misjudged state revenue projections in the past. When the Legislature approved a budget last June based on a predicted $4 billion surge in revenue, Thornberg said "they're out of their minds." As it turns out, revenue did grow, but by only $2 billion.