June 15, 2012 - Today is the constitutional deadline for California's budget and true to the annual tradition, we are facing a multi-billion dollar deficit (over $15.7 billion this year) that will require difficult choices to resolve.
While other states have been successful in balancing their books, unfortunately California has chosen to repeatedly enact gimmicky budgets that simply delay the problem. We saw this with last year's budget which pushed $6.8 billion of debt into this year's budget.
The state's inability to deal with its problems is a clear symptom of a lack of leadership, and Sacramento has become a place where kicking the can down the road is the default choice.
My Republican colleagues and I have chosen to lead by example by beginning the process of balancing the budget with solutions to save the state over $4 billion dollars. We have also pledged our support for the Governor's proposal to save billions more by reforming unsustainable public pensions. Yet, Legislative Democrats have failed to enact the Governor's pension plan and have only implemented a handful of our proposed budget solutions. Furthermore, under the majority party's leadership, we have seen a sharp increase in the state's level of spending since the recession began-particularly in the area of welfare.
Closing the deficit will require true leadership through bold action and taking on powerful special interest groups. If our state's leaders are willing to make the difficult choices to put the budget on a sustainable trajectory, then we will finally be doing what Californians sent us to Sacramento to do. If not, our leadership deficit will remain a longer-term problem to California's future than our budget deficit.