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Gatto and Ramani go into detail

October 13, 2010

MIKE GATTO: 1) California faces projected budget deficits of close to $20 billion annually for the next several years. What specific steps must the state take to achieve a balanced budget?

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, the next few years are likely to bring more financial "blood, toil, tears, and sweat" to California. This is the result of years of bad policy. I have already taken what I believe is the most significant step towards a balanced budget: The establishment of an enhanced "Rainy Day Fund," a savings account for the state.

Every household in California tries to follow the simple maxim: When times are good, you save some money for when times are not so good. We must force Sacramento policymakers to follow this common sense approach, and we would not face a deficit of this magnitude if we had put some money aside during the boom years.

So, I just authored a proposed constitutional amendment that would establish this fund, and which also requires us to pay down debt and live within our means, so that we don't burden future generations. I am proud to report that it passed the Legislature last week, and was signed by the governor.

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2) Name three programs or departments that should face reductions/elimination, or explain if you cannot.

We need to end the practice of not enforcing state anti-fraud laws. This results in boondoggles, like $69 million in state aid for the impoverished being used on cruise ships and casinos. Adequately supporting the "watchdog" agencies and insisting on enforcement of program regulations would result in significantly fewer losses of taxpayer dollars.

We need to end the practice of forcing taxpayers of well-run cities to pay the exorbitant pension costs of other cities. I am very angry that Glendale residents will be forced to pay the inflated pension costs for an employee who went to work in Bell. I have authored legislation, which is pending, that would cap the taxpayers' exposure to these inflated pension costs. That money could be much better spent by cities to fill potholes, pave roads and pay for other local services.

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