Bond measure may be our last hope
January 20, 2004
California’s new governor is proposing drastic measures to tackle the state’s budgetary problems. And come March, if a proposed bond measure makes it onto the ballot, Schwarzenegger will be counting on your vote as part of his long-term fiscal strategy.
The proposal – to borrow $15 billion against future income to relieve debt now – may be the only way California can get out of the hole without losing key state services and having to pay more in taxes (in an already over-taxed state).
So far, polls show the majority of California voters would vote against the bond, saying that tax increases and spending cuts have to be at the heart of the budget resolution. But what they are not seeing is the bigger picture.
If California does not make this move, our state credit rating will further plummet, and the only way we will be able to further borrow will be to slash spending – unraveling years of advances in education and social services. Dramatic tax increases for everyone in California will also have to be implemented. We could see college campuses close, teacher-student ratios skyrocket and local government coffers raided again, not to mention devastation of the welfare system.
Common sense tells us a bond measure is the lesser of two evils. While cuts will be necessary, and tax increases may follow (let’s hope not, as it would further compromise our ailing economy), betting on the future health of our economy is a gamble we have to take. And Gov. Schwarzenegger has to create a climate that is more friendly to business (i.e. working to reduce workers’ comp/insurance rates), to bring the economy back to its position of leadership in the United States.
Let’s work with the governor to pass a bond that tides us over during our worst times, and let’s pressure government to reinstate sound accounting principals in the future so we don’t have to do it again.