Commentary: Business as usual with California budget

This editorial appeared in The Fresno Bee.

California leaders have run out of gimmicks to balance the state budget and now state government is on the verge of a financial meltdown. You'd think this crisis would push lawmakers to act quickly to at least stop the bleeding. But it's business as usual in the Capitol, even during a special legislative session Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has called to attack the problem.

Democrats and Republicans have gone to their predictable political corners, which means they aren't offering workable solutions. Schwarzenegger's plan – which has big problems – at least gives lawmakers a place to start in the negotiations. Unfortunately, these are the same people who dragged the budget 85 days into the fiscal year before passing a document that was out of balance when the governor signed it.

The sooner the Legislature acts, the easier it will be solve the growing problem. The budget gap – now estimated at almost $28 billion over the next 20 months – will only get bigger each day the Legislature does not act.

Let's compare it to the plight of some California families. An example would be a family making $4,000 a month, but with expenses of $5,000 a month. If the family immediately cuts its spending back by $1,000, it won't go deeper into debt. But if family members say they'll reduce spending three months from now, the debt will grow because they refused to deal with the problem right away.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fresno Bee.