Sunday, March 29, 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

Vanden High library project nears completion

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Vanden girls end stellar season

By Brian Arnold | From Page: C1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Cheers for Jupiter – and roller derby

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2, 2 Comments

 
Red Cross volunteers help assemble first aid kits

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

PG&E helps replace stolen equipment

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

 
Justin-Siena names new principal

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

 
Vacaville police make arrest after pursuit

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

Vacaville bridal, quinceanera show a hit

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

 
Event benefits child who attends Cambridge School

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Free paper shredding option returns to Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Best barometer of investment success: Wealth

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B8

 
Tips on hydrozoning your garden

By Tina Saravia | From Page: B8, 2 Comments

 
Fairfield police log: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Crash victim’s father calls for more focus on pilot welfare

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Experts: Sex bias case will embolden women despite verdict

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Popular Yosemite National Park lookout opens early in season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Some British Airways frequent flier accounts miles breached

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

7 shot and injured at Florida spring break house party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Boko Haram kills 39, legislator, disrupting Nigeria election

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Official: Al-Shabab siege at Somali hotel ends, 24 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
 
Bird flu found in a top Minnesota turkey producing county

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Islamic fighters led by al-Qaida in Syria seize major city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 29, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Pope finds popularity and dissent at 2-year mark

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Truth does not change

By The Rev. Art Zacher | From Page: C3, 20 Comments

Horoscopes: March 29, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B8

 
Daughter choses stepdad over father to walk her down the aisle

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B8

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Second Julie Andrews memoir expected in 2017

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Chrissie Hynde memoir coming in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

.

Sports

 
Warriors beat Bucks 108-95, clinch top seed in West

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Wisconsin heads to Final Four after 85-78 win over Arizona

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Burns scores winner in SO to lift Sharks past Flyers, 3-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Jenest pitches SCC baseball team to shutout of Contra Costa

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

AP sources: Texas fires coach Barnes after 17 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kazmir, Quintana both strong; A’s beat White Sox 10-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Zunino homers twice, but Giants rally to edge Mariners 9-8

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Gordon, Earnhardt among the winners and fans of Martinsville

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Prince Bishop wins Dubai World Cup, California Chrome 2nd

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Serena Williams easily wins opening match at Miami Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Power leads Penske sweep in qualifying for IndyCar opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Revolution win first of season, beating Earthquakes 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimmy Walker leads hometown Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

A glance at women in leadership roles in business worldwide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
For business, more women in charge means bigger profits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

US drillers scrambling to thwart OPEC threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Test trial to use computer servers to heat homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

.

Obituaries

Betty Mason

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Tiffany Lyn (Helzer) Kemp

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Richard F. Coleman

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
James Lee Lewis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Helen Kalis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carol A. Vose

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics