California revenues missed the mark in February by 3.2 percent, or $146.3 million, state Controller John Chiang said Monday.
Chiang, who manages the state's cash, said the shortfall was likely due to a spike in tax refunds going out earlier than expected in February. Income tax receipts were 5.7 percent, or $99.9 million, below the Department of Finance's projection.
Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers are anxiously awaiting tax receipts from March and April, two significant revenue months as taxpayers file their returns. The Democratic governor has proposed a budget to close a $9.2 billion deficit, but the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office has suggested that Brown's estimates are overly optimistic and that the deficit is likely higher than that figure.
Though lawmakers have begun to review Brown's budget in committee, they do not plan to take significant steps on the plan until late spring, closer to the June 15 deadline. Democratic leaders have said they want to see what tax revenues will be like in March and April before deciding how much to cut and where.
The state has a cash deficit of $21.6 billion at the moment, which includes $15.2 billion of internal borrowing and $6.4 billion of borrowing from outside investors, Chiang reported. The cash deficit is different from the state's budget deficit. While some of it is due to the accumulation of budget gaps over the last few years, it is also the result of timing between when taxes are paid and programs are funded, as well as accounting methods that count revenues before they are actually received.