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Jim Battin

Create a responsible state budget: By reforming the process

The following op-ed ran in my local paper today – The Desert Sun

Create a responsible state budget: By reforming the process
By Senator Jim Battin (R-La Quinta)
Another year, another missed budget deadline. But the deadline date itself is not the problem. The problems that have led us to this point are the effects of a partisan redistricting process and term limits. Redistricting ensured that almost all legislative seats are considered “safe.” Therefore, the real races are won within the primaries for those seats, which ensures that the most conservative or most liberal members of each party always get elected.
Couple this with a term limits scheme that forces members to play musical chairs and compete amongst themselves for different seats every few years, and you have the elements to a system that is ripe for strife, both between and within the Democrat and Republican parties.
Add the fact that there are very few members who have ever even been present for an on-time budget, and you arrive at our present predicament.
No new taxes
So where does that leave us? Despite the philosophical divides, the bottom line is our state legislature has consistently been spending money it doesn’t have. And for the past few years, Democrats have raged at the Republicans who dared to hold up the budget in order to sound the alarm. Last year, they actually called us “terrorists.” But math is math, and the simple fact is that if the state does not have enough money to pay for its outgo, it either has to downsize or generate more money.
Republicans are interested in generating more money for the state through the success of our business community. The Democrats’ solution is to simply ask you — the taxpayer — for a larger check by raising taxes without presenting any real commitments to changing their spending patterns.
Californians have watched their home values decrease, the cost of fuel double and their grocery bills explode. All this is happening while unemployment figures are reaching record highs, and the Democratic majority somehow thinks raising your personal income tax, leaving you with less each month, is a good idea.
We need to look at real reforms, not placing an unrealistic solution (taxes and fees) on the backs of our small businesses and Californian families. We can’t continue to fund unnecessary state programs and must ensure state agencies are being run by vigilant individuals who are willing to address and reduce governmental waste.
California must establish a spending cap. Year after year, California finds itself in this same situation because spending has outpaced revenue. Sensible spending caps would provide government growth at a responsible rate and protect taxpayers from out-of-control state spending and the whims of the powerful in the legislature.
Next, create a “rainy day” fund. When the economy slows down, or when disasters strike, it makes sense to have money put aside to cover the costs of these inevitable events. Unstable government funding only puts vulnerable Californians at risk.
Finally, government waste is eating away at California. State agencies need to identify and address waste and end it in a significant and meaningful way.
Change the process
California families and businesses make hard financial choices every day to secure a healthy budget balance and ensure a stable future all the time. It is a tough choice to save for the future and to manage spending, but we are all expected to do it, or face the consequences. California has come to that tough point. It is time to stop increased spending and look to a future with a rainy day fund to ensure we are not in this situation every year.
The time for budget reform is now. I am willing to come to the table, but remain stalwart on requiring reform. I don’t want to just get a budget for the sake of a budget. I want a real solution for California.
Sen. Jim Battin, R-La Quinta, represents the 37th Senate District, which includes most of Riverside County. He serves as the vice chair of the Senate Rules Committee. Reach him at

One Response to “Create a responsible state budget: By reforming the process”

  1. Says:

    The Republican rolling pins are about to do their annual roll…