Truckee discussion aims at tackling state budget |

Truckee discussion aims at tackling state budget

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The Sierra Business Council wants to get a strong Sierra voice into a growing discussion about reshaping California government.

A meeting, planned for Aug. 21 at the Truckee High School, brings the Bay Area Council’s idea of a state constitution convention to the Truckee/Tahoe area. The goal, according to the Sierra Business Council, is to get locals talking about budget reform and potential changes to state government.

and#8220;These forums are largely a state-wide listening tour to gather a broad range of people from left to right and#8212; a diverse set of people that agree the fiscal crisis is a long-term impediment to our goals,and#8221; said Steve Frisch, SBC president. and#8220;Both the Sierra Nevada and rural counties need a voice at the table.and#8221;

Nevada County Supervisor Ted Owens agreed.

and#8220;I think the system is antiquated and broken,and#8221; Owens said. and#8220;It’s very easy for us living in a wonderful place to try and not pay attention to what’s going on at the state, but most people don’t have an opportunity to participate in something like this in a lifetime and#8212; to fix the state.and#8221;

Former Mayor Maia Schneider said representation of the Sierra is important for the area’s unique resources.

and#8220;The needs of the Sierra Nevada must be included in the dialogue to ensure the protection of our natural, historic, social and economic interests,and#8221; Schneider said in a release.

Owens said the state’s problems won’t likely be fixed by anything short of a major overhaul.

and#8220;The legislature is made up of good people in both parties working in an impossible environment,and#8221; Owens said. and#8220;And it will be the same next year, and the year after that, until we address the problem.and#8221;

Items that could be part of the discussion include multi-year budgeting, performance-based budgeting, sun-setting for programs, projects and legislation, the relationship between state and local government, term limits and redistricting, Frisch said.

Owens said the recent fiscal crisis has hit rural counties hardest, and those counties have the weakest voice in the state.

and#8220;We have a state senator with a district from Mammoth to the Oregon border with colleagues representing two square miles in Los Angeles,and#8221; Owens said. and#8220;What if each county had a senator instead? The majority would be rural.and#8221;

The Bay Area Council’s push to adjust the state constitution is only one of three major schools of thought on state reform, Frisch said.

Other ideas include simply cutting services across the board to make up the deficit and to make changes through a series of different ballot measures.

The constitutional convention would mean making changes to the state constitution, then voting on that in one single ballot measure, Frisch said.

and#8220;We really need a big solution, we aren’t going to dig ourselves out of this hole in a year or two,and#8221; Frisch said.

What: A discussion of a state constitutional convention

When: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Aug. 21

Where: Truckee High School

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