|In This Issue|
|Californians Feeling The Pinch|
|Shifting Services To Cities, Counties, Could Cost More|
|What They’re Saying About Our Letter To Governor Brown|
|How Do You Think We Should Balance California’s Budget?|
Today, we join our friends in Japan to mourn the loss of life caused by the massive earthquake last night, followed by a destructive tsunami that killed hundreds and destroyed homes, businesses and communities. We extend our deepest sympathies to those whose friends and families have been affected by this disaster; we continue to keep the people of Japan in our hearts and prayers.
While the catastrophic effects of the earthquake and its aftermath most certainly dwarf the challenges California now faces, I did want to bring you up to date about what’s going on in Sacramento. Earlier this week, Senators Berryhill, Blakeslee, Emmerson, Harman and I sent a letter to Governor Brown about the package of reform measures we have proposed in an effort to move California forward by creating jobs, controlling spending and fixing the state’s structural deficit problems.
We remain optimistic that the Governor is working hard to find the necessary support for the key reforms we have discussed, and we look forward to keeping an open dialogue with him and working together to fix the underlying structural problems that contribute to our state’s chronic spending, budget and economic problems.
For your information, I’ve highlighted below several items relating to what’s going on in Sacramento. Of course, if you would like to weigh in on these important discussions, don’t hesitate to contact me via my website or call one of our offices. I appreciate your interest and look forward to hearing from you soon.
Like the character Phil Connor in the 1993 comedy, Groundhog Day, Californians across the state are reliving a frustrating reality, day in and day out, and the forecast seems to include little relief from the persistent unemployment, sky-high foreclosure rates and falling incomes that have plagued us for months on end. In a continuing effort to cope with this difficult economy, families and communities are doing everything they can to tighten their belts and stretch every dollar they have. But instead of seeing their elected representatives in Sacramento make the same kinds of sacrifices, Californians are watching their government waste away their hard-earned money -- over and over again.
While Sacramento grapples with how to close our state's massive $25 billion budget deficit, cities and counties are understandably concerned about the discussions happening under the Capitol dome. As a former mayor, I know what a dramatic impact these conversations will have on local governments. Local budgets have already been stretched to the limit, and the prospect of taking on even more responsibilities while being forced to give up tools and resources is daunting, to say the least. Among the most concerning of proposals are Governor Brown’s plans to realign critical social and public safety services and to eliminate both redevelopment agencies and enterprise zones.
The reforms my colleagues and I discussed in our letter to Governor Brown on Monday fall into five broad categories: spending cap and reforms, reforming the pension system, reforms to spur economic growth and job creation, government reform, and structural tax reform. Check out what newspapers and stakeholders around the state have had to say about our efforts. In particular, be sure to read The Modesto Bee’s editorial, as well as a joint letter to the editor from Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson and Stanislaus County Chief Probation Officer Jerry Powers .
The Sacramento Bee has a great interactive tool on its website that gives you an opportunity to try your hand at closing California’s $25 billion budget deficit. It’s no easy task, but give it a shot, then let me know your ideas.