One of the biggest problems facing California today is the huge fraction of the state budget that is committed to funding or servicing the debt on initiatives passed by voters. While many of these are worthy when viewed in isolation, it’s a truly insane way to carve up what is a limited pot of money. … Continue reading »
Californians are beginning to appreciate that our prison system is deeply flawed and unsustainable. But the prisons are only the center of a whole way of imagining public safety that has dominated California for nearly 40 years and which has left us badly positioned to confront the risks we face in this new century. We … Continue reading »
What ails California? Let me count the ways: 1. A two-thirds voting requirement for new taxes and for budgets, 2. Legislative districts that are apportioned so that they’re either Democratic or Republican – resulting in the extremes running against more moderates in primaries, and summoning enough votes to get in, 3. Initiatives that, over the … Continue reading »
California voters have a long history of shooting themselves in the foot. Prop 13 is one calamity, especially the provision that requires a 2/3 legislative vote to pass a budget. (The tax provisions are obscenely unfair, but that’s a different issue.) Term limits is a second crippling measure. What ails California? In a nut-shell, lack … Continue reading »
Californians will need to change the rules of the political game to get state politics back on track. Allowing simple majority voting in the legislature on budgets and taxes is a good start. Reforming the way we draw the lines around electoral districts could also help. If political parties had fewer safe seats, they might move … Continue reading »
The drop in state spending is exacerbating the recession. Beyond getting the states to spend more now, we need to think about how to make state spending more resilient to downturns going forward. A more sensible approach to taxes will help.