After publication of our piece, “Gov’s Race Lacks a Change Candidate,” here and in the L.A. Times, we heard from several of the candidates for governor who, um, mildly disagreed with our trenchant analysis. The Calbuzz Department of Fair and Balanced Journalism & Customer Service Outsourcing passed their comments on to the newsroom, which today presents a response from Republican wannabe governor Tom Campbell.
While I unquestionably agree (of course) with the nice things you say about my specificity in trying to deal with the state’s problems, I think most of your readers would disagree with you that my approach “boil[s] down to more efficient management of the status quo.”
In 2005, as California’s Finance Director, I authored the most sweeping ballot reform of California’s broken budget system in at least the last quarter century. The idea – which I am still proposing in this campaign – is modeled after Gramm Rudman at the federal level.
My proposal is that when state revenues grow faster than what it necessary to cover the previous year’s spending, adjusted for inflation and population, the extra goes into a reserve, which can only be used when revenues fall as they are now. During an impasse, the previous budget continues automatically. If revenues aren’t sufficient, then all items would be cut, in equal percentages, across-the-board.
Unfortunately, in 2005, this revolutionary idea (Prop 76) was defeated. If it had been adopted, California would have avoided the budget crisis of the last two years – we’d actually be in balance, because our spending would never have shot up like a rocket when the years were good; and when the years turned bad, we would have had a reserve on which to draw.
More recently, in order to save the state billions, I also proposed a sweeping, innovative overhaul of our state’s health insurance system based on free market principles, which can be read in detail at www.campbell.org.
These are the types of solutions I am offering – innovative, market-oriented overhauls of the way our state does business. When you look at the mess we’re in, it’s hard to imagine proposing anything else.
Editors note: There were no injuries.