2012-02-10 / Editorials

Making your government more efficient

By Sen. Tony Strickland
Special to the Acorn

Strickland Strickland Business as usual is not working here in California. We continue to have the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation, as well as an ever-present budget deficit, and yet our state bureaucracy just keeps on growing.

What’s worse, the governor has recently proposed raising your taxes yet again.

Raising taxes is just not an option. Hardworking people across the state are making tough choices with their family budgets and don’t deserve to be treated like an ATM every time the state runs out of cash.

This is why I’ve authored Senate Bill 953, which would create the Bureaucracy Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC).

This commission, made up of a nonpartisan group of unpaid analysts, would be charged with identifying, downsizing or eliminating obsolete or duplicate state bureaucracies.

Constituents and small business owners in my district often call my office, telling me that one state agency has given them the run-around and then referred them to yet another state agency. My constituents suffer through bureaucratic gridlock until they finally give up.

We need to do better than this.

SB 953 is an opportunity to make our government better for the people of California. With nearly 400 state agencies in existence, I’m confident there is some fat to be trimmed. My bill is supported by numerous taxpayer advocacy groups, including the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the National Federation of Independent Business.

SB 953 is modeled and named after the successful Base Realignment and Closure program, which was established by the federal government after the Cold War.

The Federal BRAC program successfully identified and closed obsolete military bases, saving an estimated $20 billion annually.

The key to the Federal BRAC program was creating a nonpartisan panel of analysts who, unlike lawmakers, had no vested interests in protecting the unneeded military bases in a particular district. SB 953 would be run the same way here in California.

The governor has asked legislators for “bold ideas” to get us out of this budget mess. I’m taking the governor at his word, and I believe that SB 953 is a bold idea.

Let’s take a look at how the government is spending your hard-earned tax dollars and make things more efficient. Let’s get rid of outdated agencies and combine agencies whose duties overlap. Let’s eliminate the messy state bureaucracy once and for all.

Californians are already taxed to the max, and we need to look at long-term ways to save money while making the most of your precious tax dollars that already do come to Sacramento. California is in need of reform, and I believe SB 953 is a solid first step in achieving that reform.

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