After days and weeks of hinting at dire forecast numbers, state officials learned Thursday of several factors that account for a brighter outlook:
• The 2011 fiscal year ended with an extra $525 million, due to revenue gains and health and human services savings.
• 2012-13 spending is $348 million lower than previous estimates, mostly in health and human services.
WHERE WILL IT GO?
As big a sum as it is, the surplus is all spoken for. By law it must go to restore the state's severely depleted reserves:
• $255 million to refill the cash flow account.
• $621 million to the budget reserve, which hit zero at the end of the last legislative session.
It's not all roses. The state's national forecasting service predicts slowed economic growth and a greater-than-normal chance of recession. In addition, the state still owes K-12 schools more than $2 billion for an accounting shift that is no longer recognized in the forecast.