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California needs another law - this one is for the people

Updated on May 17, 2012

Asking the right questions


You have the power to make a difference in the state’s budget mess, help clean it up and prevent future budget turmoil. Just ask your current state legislator, and before the June 5 election, ask each candidate for election to state legislative office whether they would introduce, or at least support, a measure to clarify who is responsible for enforcing California's state Constitutional requirement for a balanced budget. Technically, it seems to me that the Governor and Legislature are in violation of the balanced budget requirements, but some people obviously disagree. Based on an April 25 Sacramento Superior court ruling, if the Legislature declares the budget is balanced when they pass the budget act on June 15, it is balanced and presented on-time. When State Controller Chiang challenged this, the court told him he does not have the power to make an independent determination whether the budget is balanced or not and therefore cannot dock the pay of legislators for failure to meet the Constitutional requirements per Proposition 25 (2010). Who then, shall enforce the Constitution when it is obvious the budget is unbalanced but the legislature simply declares otherwise? It is the courts, according to the court. Should we the people have to go to court every June 15 when it becomes obvious the budget is not balanced, but the legislature might have disagreed? It seems to me some clarification is in order. As much as I do not like adding laws to the books, this situation seems to call for legislative action in more ways than one.


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    • OCPerspective profile image
      Author

      OCPerspective 5 years ago from South Orange County California

      I just read the dialogue between Mike and American Romance. I find it refreshing that thoughtful people who disagree can bring some light into an otherwise murky topic. Indeed, the California constitutiopnal provisons do need to be thooroughly adjucated so the people and legislators can see how to remedy the problem of enforceement. I agree that the initiative process yields many inconsistencies - if for no other reason than initiatives are written outside the legislative process. Unfortunately, if the legislature did its job, we wouldn't need initiatives like Proposition 20 (Coastal Act) and Proposition 13 (Property Tax Limitation) to name a few that addressed long standing grievances of the people.

      Going back to the balanced budget requirement, it can be an important part of the budgetary framework, one that will help the state's bond rating. If legislators and the Governor are willing to play by rules everybody can understand, then there will be more certainty of fiscal retraint. This is a message I get very clearly from my reading of recent reports, and contact with Standard & Poor's

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 5 years ago from America

      mike, how can you talk like this when your unemployment is the highest in the nation? How can you say this when your state has more debt than most countries? How can you say this when your welfare cost are more than any other state except New York? I have seen this argument before about how more tax dollars come from California than other states and it doesn't make sense. Josak and I have had this same debate. What does a 2500 sq ft home cost in California to build? What are the taxes on that home? Here in Oklahoma I live in an 8 year old home in a gated community that probably cost about 200,000 LESS than one in California? Our unemployment is around 5.5%, Our economy is growing daily etc. Your argument is based on population, not the true misery index. We live better, longer, and happier in other states than those in Ca. You are living in lala land my friend.

    • mikelong profile image

      mikelong 5 years ago from The largest convict colony in the United States

      It won't happen, because it is invalid.

      California can't be compared to Greece..... California alone would be one of the greatest nations on earth.

      We don't need cuts, we need the rest of the country to start taking care of themselves, so that California's lion share of federal tax revenue is instead kept here at home. We are the nation's mouth to Asia, we are the nation's lungs, without California, the rest of the nation takes a giant step backwards....

      We can fix our problems, but the tiny, mostly financially miniscule state economies across the nation need to step up.

      Not voting in the hypocrite liar from Ebay?

      You have no clue what you talk about.

      California pays more in taxes than it gets back in benefits from the Federal Government....however. As the saying goes, Red states feed at the trough, and blue states (namely California and New York) supply the feed.

      Maybe we in CA should keep our share and let the rest of the nation fall apart....

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 5 years ago from America

      Never going to happen! Liberal state who wants spending, spending, spending, is never going to ask politicians to do whats right! It is just like a small Greece in Ca! The people have been entitled for so long they are not willing to take the cuts necessary to fix it! They proved this by not voting in the lady from Ebay. I could care less, except to say our federal government better not bail them out with MY money!

    • mikelong profile image

      mikelong 5 years ago from The largest convict colony in the United States

      I altered my posting, but Hubpages, for some reason, has been glichy lately.

      http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_20478590/ruling...

    • mikelong profile image

      mikelong 5 years ago from The largest convict colony in the United States

      Interesting issue.

      This is the problem with broad mandates like this.

      I understand the logic behind the law, being a Californian, I read up on my ballot measures. I remember this one well.

      If balancing the budget means holding back on investments that, in the long run, will reap savings, then we have a serious issue.

      If it is simply impossible to rationally balance the budget, then we have a serious issue.

      This is the problem with many ballot initiatives, altogether.

      All imbalanced budgets are not alike, and there needs to be a much finer lens through which to define if the short-term debt is a mark of investment that will pay off or shenanigans.

      I think, before any enforcement should be applied, we need a lawsuit. I know when that word is used people build all kinds of insinuations...but lawsuits are not bad things, as a practice. They are simply a means for greater analysis...and in the case of the understanding and implementation of laws, we need as detailed an examination as we can.... The voice of the general electorate doesn't always reflect the greater good, and when it comes to fiscal and civil rights policies, we definitely need to do our best to get it right.