The state could commission a symphony to commemorate an on-time, balanced budget. But I get the feeling that Gov. Brown would strike it with the blue pencil.
Never mind. The celebration is on. George Skelton tells us that the legislature is no longer dysfunctional and that the voters have gotten things right. California is turning around. Ya!
OK, I know, there are a bunch of caveats, huge caveats, caveats bigger than the size of the pension obligation and the infrastructure deficit put together. But let’s stipulate, for the sake of the argument, that California has turned itself around.
If that’s true, what direction are we going in?
The answer so far: there is no answer. There is no plan for what the state is going to be in the future.
Budgets are supposed to be plans, but this ones doesn’t tell us much about the future. The focus is still on repairing the damage of years of bad budgets and cuts. After all of this, there’s no clear plan for how the state should develop and grow and govern in the future.
Even the new school funding plan, a significant political achievement, doesn’t meet this test. We know how money is going to be divided up. But to do what? What do we need to achieve educationally? How does California compete? And how does California get more revenues for education – since the state lags the rest of the country?
On politics, Californians has been playing small ball for so long that they’ve lost perspective. Small steps are made to seem like big things. And we’ve forgotten how to think about, and plan, for the big.