California has a $54 billion problem, and Gavin Newsom has a simple solution: Ask Nancy.
Governor is banking on Speaker Pelosi’s HEROES Act to avoid having to spend
less. In a breezy five-paragraph letter to Pelosi, Newsom and the Western
States Pact asked for exactly $1 trillion.
Gov. Newsom denies any responsibility for California’s predicament.
When asked on CNN how much of the
deficit is a result of imprudent budgeting, he answered: “None.” He then hailed
our pre-COVID surplus as a sign of good governance, when it actually reflects
the very governance failures that are now making the deficit so large: an
unstable tax regime and off-the-books pension liabilities.
Now is the time to bring spending
under control, not to dodge responsibility. As one example, we would save $2
billion per year (and avoid another $2 billion in debt) by offering the same
health benefits for retired state employees as Oregon.
This is also a moment to reimagine
state government, by moving special interest groups to the back of the line and
ending policies that oppress ordinary Californians. This includes:
1. Removing barriers to opportunity
like AB 5 and occupational licensing
2. Lowering the cost of living by allowing new housing and slashing regulations
3. Lifting education mandates that trap poor students in failing schools
4. Re-directing spending on homeless, drug offenders, and the mentally ill
towards services to transition people out of these conditions.
A check from Speaker Pelosi isn’t the
way to fix California. That’s the job of our state’s elected leaders.