Budget Deadline Presents Opportunity to Tackle State’s Fiscal Woes

The June 15 budget deadline presents the Legislature with an opportunity to pass a balanced budget that tackles the economic crisis and widespread unemployment affecting millions of Californians. Creating a more inviting business climate will generate the money needed to fill the state’s coffers. Recently the Coalition for a California Financial Workout Plan comprised of business organizations from around the state, including Orange County Business Council, developed a five-point workout plan to put California on the path to recovery. The plan includes:

1. Spending Control and Budget Reforms
To regain the public trust, constitutional spending controls must be put in place to ensure fiscal discipline, along with performance-based budgets, performance-based management, and multi-year forecasting.

2. A Path to Job Creation
The only way to grow the revenue pie is to improve the business environment to allow for economic growth. The business community needs to see a detailed and hard commitment to regulatory reform integral to the “financial workout plan,” including evaluation of economic impacts as a requirement of the regulatory process, CEQA reform, and a fix for the Redevelopment Area and Enterprise Zone programs to prevent abuses.

3. Pension Reform
The financial workout plan must include reforms that massively reduce current and future unfunded liabilities in pension programs at every level of government.

4. Government Closer to the People
A smaller state government with more flexibility afforded to local governments and assurances that new responsibilities will be matched with permanent funding sources that don’t rely on additional local taxes.

5. Extension of Temporary Taxes
Support of temporary tax extensions is possible, but only when coupled with the proposed structural reforms. The underlying budget problems must be resolved or the tax dollars will simply be throwing good money after bad. Tax extensions should only be in place for a period long enough to allow these reforms to take effect and for the economy to recover.

Californians are looking to their elected representatives to develop comprehensive, long-term solutions to the state’s perennial budget problems. We’ve tried all the get-rich-quick schemes and the “all gain, no pain” formulas. And we should be well past the plans that pick and choose economic winners and losers. Now is the time for clear thought, hard decisions, and respectful compromise. We encourage the Governor and the Legislature to produce a balanced budget by June 15 that puts California on strong economic footing. This means looking at strategies beyond simply cutting programs and raising taxes, and focusing on repairing the underlying structural problems plaguing the state.

Our perspective is non-partisan. In fact, our perspective is Californian. We support the steps that will put California back on top as the Golden State. For more information contact Kate Klimow, Vice President of Government Affairs.

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