California's current budget windfall has come almost entirely from a rebounding stock market, and from billions in revenue generated by a capital gains tax--the most volatile revenue stream. Brown, scarred by budget battles both a few years ago and a few decades ago, said the state should save money in the good years to pay for the bad years.
"I think that kind of ping-pong budgeting, where first you ping and then you pong, makes no sense," Brown said. "It's cruel budgeting to propose a spending program and then have to finance it two or three years from now by cutting somebody else's program."
So we can't go back to "business as usual." Boom and bust is our lot and we must follow the ancient advice, recounted in the Book of Genesis, that Joseph gave to the Pharaoh: Put away your surplus during the years of great plenty so you will be ready for the lean years which are sure to follow.
Most governors and legislatures--in modern times--have forgotten this advice. This time we won't do that. We will pay down our debts and remember the lessons of history.
Fiscal discipline is not the enemy of our democracy but its fundamental predicate. To avoid the mistakes of the past we must spend with great prudence and we must establish a solid rainy day fund, locked into the Constitution.
Kashkari previously worked for Goldman Sachs and ran a controversial Treasury Department program that bailed out the nation's largest banks. He called that experience an example of the bipartisan compromises he hopes to strike in California.
Last year, Kashkari quit his job as an investment banking executive and began traveling across the state and mulling his run for governor, meeting with potential donors, community organizations and regular Californians. He said he formed his campaign platform--creating jobs and fixing schools--by spending time in a homeless shelter, meeting with Central Valley farm workers and listening to average Californians discuss their unmet needs. "People don't want welfare; they want jobs," said Kashkari, who did not elaborate on his policy positions.
"California is still a very yeasty place," he said, noting the state's record for companies that develop new technologies that grow into major industries. He said the state now has multibillion-dollar surpluses that can continue for the next several years if state lawmakers spend responsibly.
Granato's comments come on the heels of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's declaration of a "fiscal state of emergency" in California on Wednesday, a dire situation that was created by the state's inflexible budget laws and ensuing political gridlock. Mike Lee, Granato's GOP opponent, has supported adding similar rules on the federal level by amending the US Constitution.
Granato said he opposes a so-called Balanced Budget Amendment because it will invariably result in draconian cuts that will hurt average Americans.
$11 billion in water bonds will be on the ballot this November. Some people say "how can we afford these bonds in the current economic climate?" I say, how can we not?
|2016 Presidential contenders on Budget & Economy:|
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
2016 Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
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