The day of reckoning is fast approaching for California. The governor needs to hack another $8 billion from the budget, and since nobody in our state government appears to have a plan to get to a balanced budget other than bait and switch tactics, disguised tax increases and the total elimination of programs, let’s consider the JBWLIC tax, or fee which sounds better and less like another tax. The JBWLIC tax, (Just Because We Live In California) will be assessed each year to every person (in addition to all of the other taxes) who lives in California. Let’s face it, California thinks it is the premier state, with its weather, spectacular scenery, job opportunities, etc. With our estimated (2008) population of 38 million, a tax of $100 per person up to the age of 50, and $200 per person older than 50 (just because you’re half way) will net out about $5 billion a year, a far cry to solving the deficit problem but it makes about as much sense as anything else that’s been presented.
But with every crisis comes opportunity for greatness. So now the pressure is on the legislature and the governor to come up with a viable plan for the years ahead to manage the state revenues and balance those with the expenses. The state has gotten us into this mess, and now it must find a way to pull us out of it. I am no financial genius, but I do know you cannot keep spending at a level that exceeds your revenue without consequences. The state auditor regularly exposes inefficiencies and points to ways to become more efficient, (like the discovery of $580,000 paid between 2004 and 2008 for empty office space in San Diego). What’s disappointing is out of the 63 recommendations made to 17 state agencies between January ’05 to October ’07, only 14 were fully implemented by last November. It’s time for a realistic plan to fix this mess.