California Seeking Federal Bailout : Planet Money California is reportedly seeking a bailout from Washington for the second time this year.

California Seeking Federal Bailout

California is once again asking Washington for help with its growing budget woes.

The state is $20.7 billion in the hole and has pretty serious structural problems that make it unlikely it will fix itself anytime soon.

Last summer, state officials were turned down hard after going hat in hand to the White House, warning of a dire situation if the state's budget hole wasn't addressed soon.

This time, Sacramento isn't using the b-word, instead calling any federal bailout a needed "investment."

"No one is looking for a bailout. We're looking for an investment," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, adding that the state needs to "fight" for more money.

California already has received just over $8 billion in federal stimulus dollars that helped the state close the budget deficit last year. On Friday, Schwarzenegger will release his initial budget proposal for the next fiscal year, and the Legislative Analyst's Office already has called on state leaders to "aggressively seek new federal assistance" to help close the projected deficit.

It's a tough call: California's economy is larger than Canada's or Brazil's, and if the state can't get its fiscal house in order it could surely blunt any national economic recovery. On the other hand, how many states will ask for their own investment-themed bailout if California succeeds?