Yesterday’s State of the State address by Governor Jerry Brown gives us hope that even though things are not as good as some believe, California is not about to implode from massive debt.
Having said that, the governor failed in his speech to really explain why he believes the state’s voters should pile more taxes on themselves this coming fall, given that the proposals so far detailed still seem to include too many grey areas, and not enough guarantees on how the new taxes will spent.
Yes, he has said they will be used to fund education and important social safety net social service programs, but as always, the devil is in the details. We want more details.
We agree with the governor that the state should proceed with the proposed High-Speed Rail project and that delay or replacing it with another initiative could be more expensive in the long run. We need more and better transportation systems that can help get polluting cars off the road, and which will speed up our economic engine.
The governor says a new business plan for the rail project will be released soon. We urge the governor to make sure it is a clear and truthful assessment of the project’s cast of characters, and the transportation system’s realistic financial projections. Anything less will only hurt the approval of the project.
The need for real transparency is especially true when it comes to Governor Brown’s plans to shake up the methods for funding education in the Golden State. He claims his proposed temporary tax hikes will keep funding for education whole, and will continue to pay for his realignment of the prison system and public safety.
We say it’s time to really spell out the percentages that will be spent in each of these and other budget areas.
So, while the governor’s speech on Wednesday may have been intended to inspire hope, we have all been down this road before. What we need now is a little less inspiration, and a lot more elbow grease from our representatives in Sacramento.