California New Year's Resolutions for 2007

Dear Everyone;

As part of my writers bureau position for the California Libertarian Party it fell to me to fill the weekly op-ed
for just after Christmas and just before New Years - maybe it'll be a slow holiday news week. As a result of the timing I created some New Years resolutions for California 2007 - and in under 700 words - so it's likely to get published. One publisher - American Outlook - has already signaled they are publishing in their 12-29-06 issue.

Happy New Year Californians ( and all you wonderful Libertarians wherever you are ) - may you live long and prosper.

Ron Getty
SF Libertarian

California New Year's Resolutions for 2007
by Ron Getty
Fact: California's projected budget deficit for 2007 is $5.5 billion dollars.
New Year's resolution: The governor and the legislature should wipe out this budget deficit. That means mandating a 5% cut in the $110 billion California budget across the board in all departments. A 5% cut is achievable and can be met through attrition or outsourcing what can be done by private contractors at lesser costs than by state employees. We should also institute user fee services, whenever feasible, for every state board or department. This way, actual operating costs will be met by fees for services or licensing.
Fact: In 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger signed 910 bills and vetoed 262.
New Year's resolution: The state legislature should drastically cut back on introducing new laws and start repealing old laws. We have too many laws—mainly un-enforced, because nobody knows what they are.
Fact: A federal judge gave Governor Schwarzenegger a June deadline to ease crowding in the California prison system, where 173,000 inmates exist in space for less than 100,000. He is currently arranging to transfer 2,200 prisoners to facilities in other states.
New Year's resolution: State sentencing laws should be made more realistic and allow for the difference between penny ante criminals and violent felons. The state prison system needs to pay for itself with a work-for-hire program using prison labor. Further, if we are going to lock up people, we should make sure they can at least read and write by the time we release or parole them.
Fact: Seven Democrats won election to the California state legislature with 100% of the votes cast in their district (they had no opposition): State Senators Dean Florez in the 16th District, Gloria Negrete McLeod in the 32nd District, State Assembly people Noreen Evans in the 7th District, Juan Arambula in the 31st District, Richard Alarcon in the 39th District, Fabian Nunez in the 46th District and Mervyn Dymally in the 52nd District.
New Year's resolution: Redistrict California so that each electoral district will be as compact as possible and composed of an equal number of adults over age 18. No other criteria will be allowed. Any committee following these guidelines can redistrict California and the result will be competitive legislative seats.
Fact: On September 12, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB1835, which will raise the 2007 California minimum wage to $7.50 on January 1, 2007 and to $8 an hour on January 1, 2008.
New Year's resolution: The California legislature should recognize that increased minimum wages will be token increases because of income and payroll taxes. Instead of increasing the minimum wage, they should repeal minimum wage laws and all income taxes on every person earning below the federal poverty guidelines, then put a floor of at least $100 on all the regressive state sales taxes to help low-income people.
Fact: From the most recently available compiled crime statistics reports sent to the State Attorney General some 160,000 misdemeanor drug offense and marijuana possession arrests are made in California each year, compared to 125,000 arrests for homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
New Year's resolution: California's law enforcement should stop letting the Drug War skew the criminals it targets and redirect resources to capturing violent felons. Tax-funded police resources should be used in protecting law-abiding citizens from violent felons, not busting someone for personal possession of marijuana. Nor should medically approved marijuana users who grow pot plants for personal prescribed use be arrested or hassled.
Fact: California is facing a health care crisis, with several million residents being uninsured and others receiving limited medical care. Employers who do provide health insurance are facing severe increases in insurance premiums. Retired public employee medical benefits are expected to cost taxpayers several billion dollars in the immediate future.
New Year's resolution: The health care crisis should be discussed and solved with compassion and understanding without political rancor and acerbism. The crisis should be addressed without instituting a government-run medical health care system--think Medicare if you have doubts about this.
Finally, best wishes to all of you for a prosperous and healthy new year. As Mr. Spock would say, "Live long and prosper."