The fight between many states and the federal government over carrying out the health-care law figured to be the most significant states’ rights blowup of the decade. Yet the most colorful battle of this sort may be taking place in California over prison overcrowding.
When a government watchdog as knowledgeable as Steven Greenhut, a Bloomberg View contributor, writes that California deserves to knock New York out of last place in rankings of state business climates, it’s tempting to agree. If only he had a stronger case.
Whenever a free-market research or business group releases a “best and worst” list of states, my eye goes straight to the bottom: To see whether California is last or was edged out for the lowest rank by one of the other mismanaged liberal bastions. Illinois seems to exist to boost the self-esteem of Californians.
California remains Standard & Poor’s lowest-rated state. But the agency boosted its bond outlook last week, thanks to a decreasing budget deficit that’s more the result of cutbacks and an improving economy than tax increases.
In a rare act of fiscal responsibility, the California Assembly voted 73-0 earlier this month to place stricter limits on a high-yield, long-term bond that was used primarily by desperate local school districts.
California’s political leaders believe that their efforts to reduce greenhouse gases will slow climate change around the globe. Now they want to tackle a Herculean environmental task in their own backyard.
The only thing California’s environmentally friendly Democratic legislators prefer to regulating private industry is spending public dollars. So it’s fascinating to watch them struggle with an unfolding dilemma.