Assembly and Senate 2022-23 Budget Blueprints

Dear Legislators,

We enjoyed reading the Senate Budget Plan and Assembly Budget Blueprint for 2022-23. These items stood out to us:

  • We are pleased the Assembly proposes to “scrutinize prison operations.” With the inmate population below 100,000 yet prison staff positions at 55,000 costing $5.5 billion in salary and billions more in benefits, scrutiny is clearly needed.
  • Both documents make references to “equity” and “prosperity” but neither mentions the poor delivery of public education services that harm equity and prosperity. Delivery could be improved by revising Education Code sections that keep the best teachers out of classrooms and deny parents more choices of providers. Salaries for teachers could be boosted and jobs preserved by using Medicare and Obamacare instead of school district budgets to provide health insurance subsidies to retired employees.
  • Likewise, there was no mention of the impact on equity or prosperity from the state’s unemployment rate exceeding the national rate by >50%, which little in the way of state spending could fix. Employment could be enhanced by eliminating crony-capitalist provisions in code that protect incumbents, limit opportunities and suppress wage growth.
  • “Health” was mentioned but not in the context of obtaining better health from the $100+ billion per year being spent on Medi-Cal that’s boosting the financial health of providers but less so the physical and mental health of 15 million enrollees. Also, local governments and the state could save billions by relying on Medicare and Obamacare instead of their own budgets to provide health insurance subsidies to retired employees.
  • No mention was made of the low level of financial reserves ($25 billion) relative to the revenue that would be lost in a market correction like 2001-03 (>$100 billion). Like the levees that protect Sacramento from floods, financial reserves must be high enough to protect against predictable outcomes that occur at unpredictable times.