California’s Recall Was Worth Every Penny

When It Comes to Supporting Democratic Infrastructure, $276 Million Is a Bargain

It’s hard to think of a better bargain in our high-cost state than the failed recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom. At an estimated cost of $276 million—less than $7 per Californian—our state got a months-long democratic exercise that inspired dramatic new public investments, improved the governor’s performance, and may even save lives.

Maddeningly, many Californians who claim to be defenders of democracy persist in calling this democratic triumph an expensive waste of money. (Some of these thoughtless critics even have the gall to call themselves Democrats.) If they don’t want …

I, the California Budget, Am Worried I Might Be Too Big | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

I, the California Budget, Am Worried I Might Be Too Big

Before We Throw More Money at Our Problems, We Need to Redesign Our Broken Systems

Do you really think that bulking me up with your billions will solve California’s post-pandemic problems?

I, the California budget, am bigger than ever right now—more than $267 billion, according to …

How California (Might Have) Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Big, Unbalanced Budget | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How California (Might Have) Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Big, Unbalanced Budget

COVID Is Helping the State Get Over Its Misguided Obsession With Staying in the Black at the Expense of Solving Its Costly Problems

In the midst of California’s pandemic catastrophe, we may be seeing, at long last, the demise of the dominant mode of thinking of our state’s leaders: “budgetism.”

Budgetism is the false …

To Rein in California’s Cops, Reclaim City Hall | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

To Rein in California’s Cops, Reclaim City Hall

Escalating Salaries, Benefits, and Pensions for Police Are Crowding Out Other Services Our State Badly Needs

When you hear cops reporting widespread looting in California, you should believe them. Because they are true experts. Indeed, for many decades, the most successful looters in our state have …

California’s Real Budgetary Sin—We Spend Too Little, Not Too Much

Our State's Fear of Deficits Leads to Bad Management and Unforeseen Costs

We have reached the high holy days of California’s budget season, as our governor and legislative leaders decide which programs will gain new life, and which will be sacrificed. And …

The Unintended Consequences of Extending Proposition 30

The Initiative That Helped Solve California's Budget Crisis Could Now Create a New One

In 2012 voters passed Proposition 30—an initiative to raise taxes and take state government finances out of crisis mode. However, the new taxes, primarily falling on the top income earners …