One of the most important current commissions in California is the Commission on 21st Century Economy (COTCE) appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger late last year. The Commission is charged with the task of making recommendations to fix California’s dysfunctional tax system so the state will not have to go through the periodic crises that have beset us for the past thirty years. Dependence on personal income tax to pay 49% of the state’s expenses has made our budget subject to unexpected rises and falls whenever the economic cycle changes. A better balanced tax structure would smooth out some of the spikes and let California’s leaders make sensible plans for funding the state. The Commission has been holding hearings at state universities–the next one will be at UC Davis on April 9–and League members will find it useful to follow the discussions of the Commission’s website. The task is complicated and it is tempting to shrug our shoulders and give up, but the future depends on setting California’s economy on a more sensible path. It’s a worthwhile use of our time.
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