by Assemblyman Dan Logue, 3rd District
Just as the sun rises and sets each day, California continues to spend more than it takes in each year. It does not matter who the Governor is, who controls the Legislature or how the economy is performing - state government cannot control its spending and is constantly asking citizens like you for more money.
Many Californians believe that if the economy just got better, Sacramento's budget problems would disappear. As I complete my third year in the State Assembly, I can say with confidence that this will not be the case. An improved economy would only temporarily mask the long-term budget problems that are piling billions of debt on our children and grandchildren.
Now thanks to research from California Common Sense, a non-partisan organization created by Stanford University students and alumni to promote efficient governance, we have more data that confirms the obvious: California's overspending is systemic, not temporary.
The report, titled "The Top Five Issues Driving California's Overspending," succinctly states five major reasons why our state struggles to balance its books each year:
· Institutional sprawl in the Executive Branch
· Lack of coordination in Health and Human Services
· Overspending on Prisons
· Mismanagement of Education Funding
· Pension-related Liabilities
The quick takeaway from the report is that the state wastes billions of dollars each year on unnecessary bureaucracy and mismanagement. No surprise there, but what is different is that it brings together serious issues that can be understood without a Ph.D. in economics. For example, why does California spend so much more per prisoner than comparable states like Texas? Why does California have 530 institutions in its executive branch while other states have significantly less?