Wednesday, March 4, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

California politicos admit failures in seeking rainy-day fund

walters column sig

By
From page A13 | April 23, 2014 |

When you get past the political fuzz and buzz, the Capitol’s quest for a new rainy-day fund to store excess state revenue is an admission that politicians have failed in the past and can’t be trusted in the future.

Gov. Jerry Brown, in calling a special legislative session to place a rainy-day fund measure on the November ballot, indirectly alluded to fiscal sins of the past.

“We simply must prevent the massive deficits of the last decade, and we can only do that by paying down our debts and creating a solid rainy-day fund,” Brown said.

Those “massive deficits” resulted from politicians squandering occasional windfalls on new spending and tax cuts, only to face shortfalls when revenue returned to normal.

The windfalls came from an unbalanced system that depends on personal income taxes for two-thirds of general fund revenue, especially high-income taxpayers and their capital investments.

Were the state’s politicians not irresponsible, they could manage the revenue swings by voluntarily building reserves during up-cycles to cushion down-cycles. But since they are untrustworthy, it leaves just two ways to avoid fiscal meltdowns – reform the tax system or be compelled to set aside windfall money.

The former would be preferable, not only to reduce volatility, but because the entire system is out of touch with 21st century economic reality. A stable, economically viable tax system has wide bases and low rates, but ours has very narrow bases and among the nation’s highest rates.

A state commission recommended a tax system overhaul a few years ago, but its report was quickly buried because it would have shifted some burden from high-income taxpayers to the middle class.

That leaves the rainy-day reserve that Brown wants, seeing it as his only hope of taming the budget monster. But Brown also knows that while revenue is on the upswing now, history indicates that a downturn is likely before his second governorship ends, and without a big reserve, he could end his career with another big deficit.

Brown’s fellow Democrats and their allies in unions and “safety net” advocacy groups really don’t want a tough rainy-day reserve that would curb spending – as indicated by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s lukewarm, caveat-filled response. He wants to leave office this year with a billion-dollar-a-year expansion of early childhood education on his record.

Republicans, some of whose votes are needed to write a new rainy-day fund measure, would prefer a tougher one that was placed on the ballot five years ago as part of a budget deal but has been postponed by Democrats twice.

And the special session? It doesn’t make it any easier to pass a new measure, which requires a two-thirds legislative vote, but could make it easier to scratch the pending measure if no deal is made.

Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee. Reach him as [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 5 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • JagApril 23, 2014 - 9:49 am

    So the Republicans tried to put one of these things in five years ago and the union backed democrats have delayed it Gee what a surprise but who cares let’s not blame anyone let’s do both things a California flat tax and a rainy day fun but what would be considered use for this fun? Let’s say California cannot meet its obligation for Obama care does it dip into the fund for that?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensApril 23, 2014 - 10:26 am

    California, thine name is FAILURE---social, economic, mission, charter, fiscal and moral FAILURE!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • patrickApril 23, 2014 - 12:20 pm

    you can never give California democrats enough money, let alone hold them accountable for it. look at Obama.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Salty DogApril 23, 2014 - 3:56 pm

    Wow what a surprise another Democrat wants more money. LOL

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895April 23, 2014 - 5:35 pm

    States should have flat, more regressive taxes for reliability; the federal government should have progressive taxes, much more so than now.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
County honors Meadows Trigueiro as Woman of the Year

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Police shut down Fairfield street after shooting

By Glen Faison | From Page: A1, 10 Comments | Gallery

 
Celebrity chef motivates Armijo students

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
State schedules work on Highway 12

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Bridge work to shut down Highway 12 east of Rio Vista

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

Highway 12 Association to meet this month

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Caltrans reschedules work on J-Mack Ferry

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
 
 
Robots, raucous businessmen set to arrive on big screen

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
 
Teen hit by SUV remains in hospital

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
 
Fairfield police log: Feb. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun police log: March 2, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: March 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Feb. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: March 2, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Fairfield police log: March 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Enrollment of non-residents to be capped at some UC campuses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

.

US / World

California survey finds Sierra snowpack far below normal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Ex-CIA chief admits sharing military secrets with mistress

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Agents target industry helping Chinese women have US babies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

Family of girl declared brain-dead sues Oakland hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
US marshals say man killed by Los Angeles police was wanted

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 2 Comments | Gallery

72 passengers reach settlements in Asiana crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Netanyahu warns US ‘bad deal’ would put Iran on nuclear path

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Mines, bombs slow Iraqi advance on Islamic State-held Tikrit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

India orders TV stations not to give rapist a platform

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Health officials perplexed by vaccination skeptics

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

Lawmakers taking another crack at expanding gun checks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Opinion

 
Editorial cartoon: March 3-4, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Minority outreach that works

By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A11, 3 Comments

 
Israelis worry about inequality, not Iran

By Daniel Gordis | From Page: A11, 3 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 4, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Mushrooms are nutrient-packed, with a deep, savory flavor

By The Washington Post | From Page: B5

 
Get ready to add white to the rainbow of produce you eat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: March 4, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

My husband and I want different things in our retirement

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
.

Entertainment

Oprah’s Chicago studios to close down

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Fashion week moves Milan to Paris

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Apollo to celebrate Holiday birthday

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

.

Sports

Bumgarner hit hard in spring debut, A’s beat Giants 9-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
 
Vanden girls roll, advance to SJS championship game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1

Trooper: Fingerprints show victim in Hernandez’s rented car

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Play ball! Quickly! Baseball tries to speed game this spring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Australian rugby star Hayne signs 3-year deal with 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Maid: Hernandez messed with security camera after killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kings bring back former player Divac in front-office role

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

No ‘floating rubbish’ collection for Olympic sailing venue

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cal senior Reshanda Gray named Pac-12 Player of the Year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rudy Gay, Kings hand Knicks worst loss of season, 124-86

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cubs’ scramble on Wrigley Field hits bump when mayor balks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Raiders officially release S Tyvon Branch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Oil glut could soon lead to plummeting prices

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
.

Obituaries

Jacqueline Mendes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Robert C. Thierry

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Garland (Curly) Henry Tackett

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Otto Vasak

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

John Henry Fechter, Jr.

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7