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California’s Budget

Here’s food for thought . . . Independent U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman once remarked that “You cannot say you love jobs and hate employers.”

Here in California, Sacramento legislators recently passed a budget with a big focus on job training, with little to no focus on job creation.

It is actually difficult to know what is in the budget, as the 788 page bill was released less than 24 hours prior to the vote.  Even the most ardent adherents to the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading School could not have read, let alone digested, what was in the bill.  And yet it passed on a nearly unanimous party-line vote in both houses by the democratic majority.

I have three observations:

First, the process underscores, once again, why any bill – and especially the state budget – should be available for review at least three days prior to a vote, as proposed by California Forward.

Second, if we lament the deep cuts to social safety net programs, as I do, then develop an economic competitiveness plan to keep and create jobs in California.

Third, passing a budget that is contingent on the passage of a November ballot measure to increase taxes – completely free of reforms to our pension, governance, regulatory or CEQA systems – strikes me as both bad policy and bad politics.

It’s time legislative leaders traveled the state on a bi-partisan listening tour, developed a plan to grow the economy, keep and create jobs and build a budget that survives public scrutiny. We’ll host the first stop.

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