As Eric points out, "Californians only get back 78 cents for each dollar of federal taxes, ranking it 43rd of 50 for money tossed back into the state." I'd seen those numbers before, but I hadn't thought of them in the context of the California budget crisis. It's going to be hard to balance your budget when 22% of the money you send to DC doesn't come back.
I wonder to what extent the hideous proportional underrepresentation of California in the US Senate is a factor in this. In any case, part of the story has to be that California is an expensive state, which causes a bigger tax bite that isn't matched in the spending you receive. If you want to look at the tax/spending tables, they're here.
I've been daydreaming that we somehow get a federal bailout of California on which the state agrees to stop having idiotic political institutions like supermajority requirements for tax increases, in exchange for a big federal loan that they'll pay back in the future. There are probably a dozen reasons why this is impossible, but it would make lots of things better.
Let me take this opportunity to mention that California's flag looks like it was designed by a drunk person.