California’s red ink

The Long Beach Press Telegram gets to the bottom of our state’s budget crisis: cut wasteful spending.

By presenting the public with only two choices, higher taxes or dramatic cuts in vital services, state politicians and special interest groups are taking a page from an age-old political storybook, absolving themselves of blame and scaring the public into believing it’s up to them to solve the state’s budget problems.

Take your pick, people: Either pay more or prepare for a crime wave. Pay more or deal with a generation of uneducated kids. Pay more or get ready to toss frail seniors into the gutter.

What an infuriating, self- serving ruse.

Don’t buy the lie that you must make a choice between higher taxes and devastating cuts. The Reason Foundation and other groups have proposed responsible budget plans that would eliminate the deficit over two years while maintaining education, health and public safety without raising taxes.

It involves the type of stuff that politicians and special interest groups hate to hear: Curbing the rampant overspending, consolidating overlapping departments, cutting the waste and eliminating the sweetheart deals, establishing oversight on contracts and spending, and streamlining and privatizing wherever possible.

And here’s a novel idea: instead of raising taxes, the state could create a job-friendly environment that would produce more revenue for the state and more jobs for Californians.

Assembly and Senate Republicans should hold firm on their anti-tax budget position. Not because it would force inhumane cuts to vital services (it doesn’t have to) but because it would force Sacramento to deal with the real financial problem in this state: its own self-serving overspending.

California can maintain its vital services and balance its budget without raising taxes. What it can’t maintain is the cycle of overspending that rewards politicians, special interest groups and politically connected allies at the expense of the state’s long-term health and financial future.



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