California expected to reap Facebook windfall

@CNNMoneyTech February 28, 2012: 6:00 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Facebook's upcoming IPO could be a golden egg for the Golden State.

California could reap as much as $2.45 billion in additional revenues over the next five years from Facebook's initial public offering, according to a new report issued by the state Legislative Analyst's Office.

The newfound money would come from increased personal income taxes paid by Facebook investors and employees on their stocks, options and other holdings. The company is headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif.

The report warns that a lot of uncertainties surround the Facebook filing, which could increase or diminish the windfall. At a minimum, the state should collect hundreds of millions of additional revenues over several years if the IPO proceeds.

Facebook filed for a $5 billion IPO on Feb. 1. It usually takes several months for a company to receive regulatory approval. Founder Mark Zuckerberg's tax bill could reach $2 billion, according to some estimates.

Unfortunately for the state, however, its budget hole is bigger than Facebook's filing. Governor Jerry Brown has forecast a shortfall of $9.2 billion, which does not take into account the social media titan's IPO.

The analyst's office said the governor's revenue estimates are a little too rosy. It expects the state will take in $6.5 billion less, compounding California's budget problem. State officials will have a better idea of their revenues when they issue a budget update in May.

Facebook's stunning growth - and billionaires

Though California remains in a deep budget hole, it's in a better position now than it was in last year, when it faced a $26 billion deficit. After Brown's plan to ask voters for a tax increase failed, he and state legislators were forced to make deep spending cuts, particularly to schools, public colleges and social services.

Brown's budget for fiscal 2013, which begins in July, includes more spending cuts, particularly to social services. He also has revived his plan to put a temporary tax increase before voters in November. If residents don't approve the tax measure, education funding would be cut again. To top of page

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