California’s independent fiscal watchdog to retire after 32 years |

California’s independent fiscal watchdog to retire after 32 years

Aaron Davis, Associated Press Writer

SACRAMENTO ” California’s independent fiscal watchdog is retiring after more than two decades of trying to keep governors honest about how they spend taxpayer money.

Elizabeth Hill has led the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office for nearly 22 years, a span that included four governors. She has been with the office a total of 32 years.

Hill’s retirement follows her unprecedented move last month to go beyond her normal role of analyzing Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s annual budget. She also offered competing ideas for closing the state’s multibillion-dollar deficit.

She said the governor’s budget was irreparably flawed because it failed to set priorities or to correct the state’s chronic imbalance between spending and revenue.

Hill, who is 58, said the state should impose both spending cuts and tax increases to close the estimated $16 billion shortfall. Lawmakers have taken a number of steps they hope will cut the deficit in half by summer.

Hill told lawmakers she will continue to serve through this year’s legislative session, which ends in November.

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