Reason Writers Around Town: California Can Be Reinvigorated


As Reason 24/7 notes, California Gov. Jerry Brown is predicting California will end next year with a budget surplus. Meanwhile over in the Orange County Register opinion section today, Reason Foundation's Carl DeMaio writes:

If you are worried about California's future, there's no shortage of disturbing statistics to keep you up at night. California's unemployment rate was 9.8 percent in November – and, with a host of new regulatory mandates added when the New Year began, our state is becoming even more unattractive for businesses.

California's three largest pension funds have promised $500 billion in retirement benefits that they don't have the money to pay for. California's cities have another $135 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, and a couple of municipalities have already filed for bankruptcy.

California also faces a $765 billion infrastructure deficit over 10 years. Worse, the current paradigm for selecting, financing, maintaining and managing infrastructure is dysfunctional and filled with inefficiency.

And while education costs consume more than half of the state budget, far too many children are trapped in poorly performing schools. California students lag behind national achievement averages in math, science and reading.

Without immediate action, expect state service cuts, along with closures of schools, parks and fire stations in many California cities. It's time for taxpayers and leaders to step forward: What do we want California to look like in 10 years – and how do we get there?

Full column here. DeMaio, the former San Diego city councilman, is inviting you to submit policy ideas for the "California Reform Agenda" he'll be working on with Reason Foundation.