A Proposed Hard Cap on Spending Is Misguided

We’ve been swamped lately at the CBP with budget-related work. That’s why we’re just now getting around to posting this op-ed written by CBP Executive Director Jean Ross that appeared in the Los Angeles Times yesterday. In the op-ed, Jean examines a Republican proposal to place a hard spending cap on the ballot in exchange for their support of tax increases. She writes that “far from being a cure-all, a hard spending cap would place an arbitrary stranglehold on the state’s ability to improve its schools, rebuild its infrastructure, care for its senior population and respond nimbly to future challenges. Disguised as a solution, this cap could quickly become one of California’s most serious budgetary problems.”

We know that a hard spending cap is being bandied about in current budget negotiations. Whether it might take the exact form proposed last year in ACA 19 (Villines) is unclear. Regardless, the problems that Jean outlines in the op-ed still stand. Hard spending caps severely restrict the state’s ability to respond to future challenges, and they’re no substitute for the hard choices lawmakers must make about where to make cuts and where to increase revenues this year.

— Lisa Gardiner

One thought on “A Proposed Hard Cap on Spending Is Misguided

  1. States that have tried hard spending caps have seen major services the public wants curtailed, for example increases in law enforcement personel, highway maintenance, public safety measures etc etc.

    Easy fixes do not work in crafting public policy. If the objective is to cut government out in providing for the public good, measures such as hard caps are very effective. Unfortunately, the result is a less than desirable place to live, work or establish a business.

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