Mark Petracca, political science professor at UC Irvine, is skeptical of the whole exercise. “Our inclination is to view a ‘deficit’ as a bad … and a ‘surplus’ as good,” Petracca said. “But why should any city have a surplus, beyond what might be appropriate and necessary as part of a ‘rainy day’ fund? So, some residents in Irvine, Stockton, and Fresno might appropriately want to know … when they’ll be receiving their municipal refund check.”

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