California revenues $1 billion higher than expected for February
Money (AFP)

California's revenues swelled by about $1 billion more than expected last month, a sign of continued financial recovery likely to prompt jockeying for additional funding by social service agencies hard hit by recession-era budget cuts.

The unanticipated boost came from personal income taxes, sales taxes and the alcoholic beverage excise tax, all of which came in above expectations, state controller Betty Yee said in a report released Tuesday.

The revenues come amid tense negotiations over funding for the ten-campus University of California system, which has demanded that the state double an increase in funding that had been promised or it would impose tuition hikes on undergraduate students starting next fall.

The progressive wing of the state's majority Democratic legislature has also demanded additional funding for the state's tattered social safety net, which endured years of cutbacks as a result of the recession of 2008.

Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, whose office could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday, has held lawmakers to a moderate fiscal course, urging the state to build a rainy-day fund rather than over-spend.

According to Yee's report, California took in $6.6 billion in February, 18.3 percent more than anticipated. Of that, personal income taxes accounted for $2.6 billion, and retail sales and use taxes made up $3.5 billion. The alcoholic beverage excise tax brought in $55.3 million.

Altogether, the state took in $68.1 billion during the first eight months of the fiscal year, 1.4 percent higher than anticipated.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; editing by Andrew Hay)