California needs a comprehensive, quantifiable, and planned approach to state spending.
1. Quantify and Track All State Debt Obligations.
Before we can solve the debt problem, we must understand the entirety of the problem.
2. Aggressively Monitor New Legislative Spending Commitments.
Review proposed legislation, initiatives, and ballot propositions and notify the public and legislators about any that may lead to additional budget shortfalls.
3. Reform California’s Tax Systems.
Identify tax issues that are constantly subject to appeals and develop recommended changes to resolve recurring problems; b. simplify the tax system through virtual systems that provide single points for tax registration, filings, audits, appeals, and records; c. review existing business tax credits, deductions, and tax subsidies to provide a more consistent and fair but revenue-neutral base while reducing the overall tax rate; and d. more aggressively pursue federal tax conformance and reduce the filing burdens on most taxpayers.
As a member of two of the state’s primary tax agencies, the Controller can, and should, take the lead in promoting reforms, beginning with tax simplification.