Gov. Jerry Brown gave his State of the State address this morning, one which the Sacramento Bee characterized as "triumphant," due to his insistence that the state budget is balanced after years of deficits. This is ignoring that the balancing of the budget is due to fairly optimistic projections and ignores that even as we speak the state is overspending. (Point of fairness: The recent deficit spending is due to assistance provided to local governments. Sacramento actually is spending less than budgeted on state operations. But it still can't afford it.)
At the same time that the governor is saying that the state has "once again confounded our critics," Trader Joe's is increasing the price of its famous Two-Buck Chuck wine (actual name: Charles Shaw Wines) in California. The price has jumped from $1.99 to $2.49. A statement provided to ABC News by the store chain read, "In general, our retail prices change only when our costs change. In the case of Shaw in California, we've held a $1.99 retail price for 11 years. Quite a bit has happened during those years and the move to $2.49 allows us to offer the same quality that has made the wine famous the world over."
The Charles Shaw line of wine is indeed higher priced in other states. It costs almost $4 in Ohio!
Keep in mind that Proposition 30, which was billed as a tax increase on the rich, also raised sales taxes for everybody in California by a quarter of a cent. So everybody in California will be paying more for wine, no matter the price.
Brown went on to say this about California's future budgets: "This means living within our means and not spending what we don't have. Fiscal discipline is not the enemy of our good intentions, but the basis for realizing them. It's cruel to lead people on by expanding good programs, only to cut them, cut them back when the funding disappears."
And then he reiterated his support for the $68 billion high-speed rail program, a project that currently only has enough funding for the first leg.