The Golden State is, well, out of Gold. A shortfall of 25 billion – that’s billion with a “B” – is expected over the next 18 months.
We could eliminate California’s entire prison and higher education systems and still not have enough money to close the gap.
California needs solutions along with some serious soul-searching. Tough decisions need to be made:
* First, voters want pension reform. It is not a short-term solution, but it is part of the long-term answer to a balanced state budget.
* Second, with a Legislature suffering from a 17 percent approval rating, voters want trust restored in their state government. On-time, balanced budgets will require more governance and fiscal reforms like those proposed by California Forward.
* Third, any talk of more taxes must first be predicated on adequately addressing the two previous items.
* Finally, if taxes are on the table, we must get away from the “tax the other guy” approach. If something is important to California’s success, then all Californians must play a part in paying for it.
The Golden State can shine again – but only if each of us commit the time, talent and treasure to get there.