As a result of years of budget deficits and wasteful spending by the state legislature, California faces difficult budget challenges for the next ten years. This bad news is courtesy of a recent analysis of the state’s long-term debt obligations by state Treasurer Bill Lockyer (Download .pdf of Lockyer’s Report). The analysis adds to a growing list of bad fiscal news for California, a state already struggling under the nation’s worst credit rating not to mention suffering the highest unemployment in the country at 12%.
Even as California deals with this financial crisis, a career politician is pushing a ballot measure that would raise taxes by nearly $1 billion — but doesn’t allocate one penny to balance the state budget, pay down its debt, or to fund existing critical programs like education and public safety. This measure, the so-called California Cancer Research Act, would mandate a new bureaucracy with six political appointees that can spend tax money on buildings and salaries and benefits. This includes $16 million spent on overhead and $117 million on new buildings and facilities. These are no one-time expenditures as such spending will continue year after year.
The Golden State is already on the verge of bankruptcy, to be sure, and California can’t afford this kind of spending right now. Californians should expect their legislature to fix the deepening budget deficit and fund existing programs before starting new costly spending programs like this.