Governor Schwarzenegger has been charged by the people of California with the tremendous task of bringing fiscal responsibility to the state's budget process. The purpose of this paper is to offer workable proposals for meeting that goal. It shows how to reduce wasteful spending in the areas of education and welfare, while preserving services for those who genuinely need them. The paper also demonstrates how to improve the business climate of California, thereby promoting economic growth and providing the necessary revenues to fund the legitimate functions of California
The fiscal crisis plaguing California stems from a simple problem—government attempting to do too much and spend too much. Sacramento must learn to spend less money and recognize the proper limits on its own power. The current budget strategy, instead of identifying bureaucratic excess to be cut, centers around a tenuous $15 billion bond—in essence, borrowing to cover the gap between money the state has and money the state wants to spend. Even if approved by voters, the bond will likely face serious legal challenges in court.
Governor Schwarzenegger recently suggested suspending Proposition 98, which mandates spending almost half of the state's budget on education. This can be done without taking materials from needy children. The fact is that most of California's education dollars go to support a massive education bureaucracy that is riddled with waste and redundancy. The Claremont Institute shows how to lower overall education spending and minimize the education bureaucracy, while providing more books and resources for children as well as higher salaries for teachers.
Other important findings discussed in the paper include:
- One out of every five welfare recipients in the United States today resides in California. California spends $20 billion a year on welfare programs, and $5 billion in direct payments to almost half a million families with parents who are not gainfully employed. By embracing reforms proven to work in other states, California can save taxpayers billions of dollars and lead these families into personal responsibility and independence.
- Spending $ 45 billion on education, California employs almost 600,000 people, but only half of them teachers; the other half is largely composed of non-teaching, bureaucratic positions.
- While California hires armies of education bureaucrats, only one cent of every education dollar goes to purchasing new books for students.
- Unreasonable regulations on businesses, including skyrocketing workers' compensation premiums, minimum wage rates, and high taxation, are driving businesses out of California. Reforming these harmful policies will foster a business-friendly environment in California, and will encourage the economic growth necessary to sustain good government.
The full paper, "Recovering Good Government in the Golden State," is available now in PDF format (requires Adobe Acrobat 5.0 or later). Click here to download.
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Media contact Information:
- California Spending and Budget: Brian T. Kennedy, President of the Claremont Institute.
- California Welfare Reform: Eloise Anderson, Director of the Claremont Institute's Golden State Center.
- California Education Reform and Business Climate Improvement: Brian Janiskee, Claremont Institute Research Fellow.
The Claremont Institute
937 West Foothill Boulevard, Suite E
Claremont, CA 91711
Phone: (909) 621-6825
Golden State Center
1127 11th Street, Suite 206
Sacramento, CA 95811
Phone: (916) 446-7924