Commentary: California should peek at Texas' playbook to find next governor

The race to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger already has begun, and I'm looking for a candidate who looks east to find the answers to our problems.

That's east — as in Austin.

Texas isn't perfect, and of course it has oil revenue to keep its government afloat. But the state is weathering the recession a whole lot better than California, which is pounded daily with grim financial news.

California Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor -- one of the few people you can trust in Sacramento -- said last week that California faces annual budget shortfalls of about $20 billion over the next five years.

In a report on the recession, the Pew Center on the States said that "California's financial problems are in a league of their own." Adding salt to the wound: the study included a chart comparing the budget difficulties of 49 states to the tarnished Golden State. Texas was among 10 states described by the nonprofit think tank as "least like California."

The Economist magazine got me thinking about the differences in governing styles between California and Texas with a provocative article this summer comparing the two most populated states.

My curiosity grew after reading a study from California State University, Sacramento, on the effect of regulation on small business in our state. The authors concluded that the regulatory burden cost the state's economy about $500 billion a year.

And we wonder why people and jobs flee our state.

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