Saturday, January 15, 2005

Answer to California Budget Woes

Here's the latest from

A proposal in California suggests the state could cut taxes, fully fund education and balance the budget. But the remedy could be a hard pill for voters to swallow.

The Committee to Explore California Secession proposes that Californians could have the best of all worlds if it chooses to move toward independence.

“Californians currently only get 78-cents back for every dollar they pay to the federal government,” says Jeff Morrissette, founder of Move On California. “Meanwhile, other states are getting as much as $2.00 for every taxpayer dollar.”

While Morrissette acknowledges that some inequity in the contribution and distribution of federal funds is to be expected, the ratio should be more on the order of plus or minus five or ten percent.

“The fact is Californians are getting pushed around and it’s time we pushed back,” Morrissette says. “California taxpayers basically lose about $40 billion annually which goes to pork barrel spending projects in other states.”

The secession buzz in California began shortly after the November 2004 election largely out of disappointment in the re-election of President Bush. However, since launching Move On California and the website, Morrissette says the idea is starting to be embraced by
people across party lines.

“Republicans and Democrats don’t like that we are subsidizing other states when those California tax dollars could be better spent at home to shore up our own fiscal problems,” Morrissette says.

He says that if Californians could control the $40 billion that goes down the drain they could give state taxpayers a $20 billion tax cut and still have enough money to fully fund California spending priorities, specifically education, and balance the budget at the same time.While that may seem like
a fantasy, the budget numbers make more sense and would have far greater appeal to voters across the state than the “loser-pays-all” plan of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“When people hear the word secession, the first thing that comes to mind is the Civil War. But what I’m trying to get across to Californians is that this movement has a stronger parallel to the issues facing colonial Americans
when they, in fact, chose to secede from the British Empire.”
While the secession movement in California is still somewhat under the radar, Morrissette says a momentum is beginning to build. Some 30,000 unique visitors have taken a peek at the Move On California website in under two months, media requests are received daily and two documentary films are in the works.

“While secession may be a long-shot,” Morrissette says, “it will
succeed in bringing awareness to many of the grievances California has politically, socially and fiscally.”