To lawmakers: Stop the madness, focus on the budget

The results of the special election make it clear that Californians demand real reforms to our state's convoluted budget process. Moreover, their dissatisfaction with the efforts of the Governor and the Legislature are understandably at an all time high. In these tough times, hardworking families are forced to cutback on their own household budgets and rightfully expect their state government to do the same without asking taxpayers to bail California out yet again.

Last week, the Assembly Appropriations Committee killed dozens of bills that totaled cuts of over $200 million dollars, and while that is a good start, it represents a mere fraction of our $24.3 billion dollar budget gap. Furthermore, with the loss of revenue caused by the economic downturn, the current budget is still $4 billion larger than the budget voted on during Governor Schwarzenegger's first year in office. State Controller John Chiang's recent letter to the Legislature indicating that California will not have the cash needed to meet all of its obligations solidified the fact that we can no longer afford to run California in such a dysfunctional manner.

It's clear, that the wild fluctuations in California's economy combined with our bizarre budget process have wrecked havoc on our once Golden State. Moreover, our drive to pass more laws, many worthwhile, has only added insult to injury.

It's time to stop the madness.

I propose that both houses of the Legislature halt all non-budget and non-economic stimulus related legislative measures immediately. By doing so, my fellow legislators and I will be able to deliberate reforms such as consolidating state boards and commissions and relaxing regulations that force businesses to flee the state to get California back on track.

By stopping all legislation not related to the budget, the Legislature will focus solely on solving this fiscal crisis. To be sure, every one of my colleagues has a number of very meritorious bills currently before the Legislature, but by halting their progress we will bring the full force of the Legislature to bear upon what is surely our greatest challenge in decades. I stand ready to stop every piece of my legislative package and I urge every other legislator to do the same.

It's time to stop the madness. Let's focus on strengthening our economy. Californians deserve nothing less.

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