Calif. Voters Can Limit State Spending

Friday, 20 Jun 2014 09:15 AM

By Michael Reagan

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One of the curious behaviors of the left in this country is its political class often emulates the very behavior it uses as an example of the misfortune of others. Whether the misfortune was brought on by the suffering individual or it landed on their lives like an asteroid in the backyard, is immaterial.
 
Take the dreaded condition known as "living paycheck to paycheck." In the eyes of the left this is a potentially disastrous way to live because even a slight interruption in income leaves that individual with no resources to fall back upon.
 
Yet that’s exactly how the California leftists in the legislature choose for the state to live.
 
The legislature just approved a record $156.4 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. According to Newsmax: “The plan passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate and Assembly boosts state outlays 5.8 percent in the fiscal year beginning July 1. The general fund, which pays for most state services, will rise 9.6 percent to $108 billion.”
 
Yet only three short years ago the state had a $25 billion deficit to compare with this year’s surge in revenue. For me, as a California resident, this would imply that tax revenue in California is not a constant revenue stream, but rather is subject to wild fluctuation. In light of that, a prudent man would save money when revenues are high, so he can make up for the shortfall when revenue decreases.
 
Strangely enough that is exactly what Gov. Jerry Brown was saying. He urged the legislature to set aside some of the money for a rainy day fund to avoid a budget crisis in the future. The legislature considered his idea for about a second and replied, “Drinks are on the house!”
 
Is it any wonder that a comprehensive study of state governments published by USA Today ranked California the worst managed state in the nation for three years running? The 2013 report had debt per person at $3,990. And concluded, “The Golden State was also among the worst states in the nation for educational attainment, health coverage, and unemployment.”
 
Since the legislature can’t control itself, Sacramento is hoping the voters will act as the adults in the room. This November we will be voting on an amendment to the state constitution that requires that 1.5 percent of general fund revenue be earmarked each year for a rainy day fund, along with any capital-gains taxes that exceed 8 percent of the general fund.
 
Let’s hope it passes, because there are no payday lenders to bail out profligate spending states.
 
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.
 
 

© Mike Reagan

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