The current and ongoing (Hopefully not forever) budget fiasco in Sacramento can give the Republican leadership (If it is still the party of fiscal conservatism, which lately, I’ve come to doubt) a chance to shine as the party that actual walks the talk regarding fiscal leadership and responsibility. Instead of just talking, the party must start seriously writing a measure for the ballot that will once and for all require fiscal constraint in Sacramento (It will need more strength than the Gann Initiative did).
The current budget situation is not fair to the cities, counties, school districts and agencies that rely on funding from Sacramento. These groups must wait and see what Sacramento will give and take from them. Something is not right there. How does Sacramento learn any kind of fiscal responsibility if it must continue to “Borrow (I prefer the word “STEAL”, but I’ll be nice here)” from these local agencies. Most of these local agencies have already learned fiscal responsibility and must now suffer from Sacramento’s constant inability to.
The voters are upset that while the Governor threatens furloughs and layoffs for State workers, and Park closure, the legislature that created this mess continues to get paid. Something must be done here too.
So here are some thoughts of mine and hopefully others will agree –
As we are most certainly aware, the Sacramento current “solution” to the budget offer no real long term solutions. This is why the GOP, the party, that in the past was the party of less taxes and government, needs to step in and get an initiative on the ballot ASAP.
Let’s look at the facts:
Most of our legislature does not know how to balance a budget (That is shown every year by the smoke and mirror approach that we see during every budget). The problem continues to get pass to the next budget and forces future generations to deal with the mess that this generation of politicians has failed to properly solve. This needs to stop.
Fact — Most of our legislature can’t say no to enlarging existing or creating programs with no regards how to fund it. This needs to stop.
Fact — Special interest groups want more funding to pay for raises and such (I’m a Union member and I love raises like the next guy, but the best interest for this State comes with fiscal responsibility and constraint), and it’s hard to say no when those same groups help elect you. Fiscal constraint will show these groups exactly what is available for them.
The solution is simple: A voter (With Republican leadership) initiative (Since we know that most of our legislature couldn’t handle something like this) that would bring back a stable and fiscal responsible budget system for the state. The benefits? Quite obvious-The state, counties, cities, school districts and other agencies could actually plan on the future than relying on what Sacramento will take away from them to try to solve their fiscal mess. But most importantly, these reforms will make California into a strong state once again, a state that will, once again, attract businesses and attract new jobs. No more overexpansion of programs and creation of new programs, no more promising the world to special interests. No more threats of raising taxes and fees to pay for these increases. Just real common sense and fiscal responsibility and constraint.
Revenue projections — Pessimistic NOT optimistic (This would take a bit to getting use too, but it’s better to plan a budget where revenue projections are realistic) revenue projections would be used in projecting revenue for the state. Using optimistic (And most of the time, overly optimistic) projections end up creating programs and bloating others and when the projections for revenue fall short, the state finds it hard to cut back. Using a lower revenues projection will mostly eliminate that. What to do with that excess revenue brought in? Put it away for a rainy day fund. When that fund hits a certain level, a portion can be rebated back to the consumer.
Rainy day fund. This fund needs to be defined so that it cannot be raided for any reason. I would classify it as a fund to be used for emergencies, such as disasters, not the disasters when Sacramento overspends and now needs help to balance their budget.
Funding of programs. If the Sacramento wants to bloat or create a program/agency, they would be required to find the funds for that out of existing programs. They will not be able to raid the Rainy day fund for it.
Government watchdog for waste. A watchdog with power needs to be establish to go thru the different agencies and departments and find the waste and ways to improve efficiently. These reports would mandate change. Allow this to spread to any agency that receives state funding. Allow the state to check their operations and then mandate change. Any agency that refuses this, would not receive funds from the state. We need to be a watchdog for the taxpayers.
Legislature. I think most citizens are angered by the fact that our elected officials are getting paid during this mess, while state offices are being closed and workers are being threatened to be furlough. A simple solution-No pay for any State Office holder until the budget is solved and no payment for this lost wages after the budget is solved.
We deserve more than smoke and mirrors every year from the folks in Sacramento. We deserve REAL fiscal leadership and responsibility. The proposed measure would do such. Who is up for the challenge? Let’s get this or a similar measure on the ballot ASAP. And most important, let’s make the initiative simple and straightforward so the other side cannot smear it