California's budget problems are not new.
There is no single party or politician to blame for 17 years of late budgets, nor a silver bullet to cure them. And there has been no shortage of experts who have studied, assessed and evaluated the problems and solutions in any number of blue ribbon panels and commissions over the years.
In fact, the state has been quite long on analysis of the problem and devastatingly short on taking action.
Almost a decade ago, the California Constitutional Commission assessed the same problem and put forth many recommendations that simply were never enacted by a legislature too beholden to the current system to affect change. Chaired by Bill Hauck, the current President of the California Business Roundtable, with Elizabeth Hill, the state's current Legislative Analyst on board, the commission was not short on budget expertise.
The Commission made many important recommendations in the report that are included in Proposition 56: Budget Accountability Act.
Some of these recommendations are:
• Commission Report: "The state budget process should be governed by majority vote."
• Proposition 56: Reduces the vote threshold to pass a budget from two-thirds to 55%.
• Commission Report: "Members of the Commission must pass the budget on time, or be forced to forfeit their pay."
• Proposition 56: Requires that the Governor and state legislators permanently forfeit their pay for everyday the budget is late.
• Commission Report: "Make important budget information readily accessible."
• Proposition 56: Provides voters with information on how legislators voted on budget issues in a voter pamphlet and on a web site.
• Commission Report: "Recommends that the state begin each two-year budget period with a three percent reserve."
• Proposition 56: Requires the state set aside 5% of revenues in times of surplus.
To read more about what California Constitutional Commission recommended, please visit their website at http://www.library.ca.gov/CCRC/.
The Budget Accountability Act
Yes on 56 to fix the broken budget process