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.
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.
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.
California taxpayers have nothing to fear from the new Democratic supermajorities in the state Assembly and Senate. That’s the assurance we keep hearing from the political class and interest groups in the Golden State, where Republican legislators are now reduced to irrelevancy and Democrats control two-thirds majorities to pass anything they want.
If you believe California officials, you might think the state’s long-running economic and budgetary problems are over, thanks largely to the flood of money from voter-approved increases in already high income and sales taxes.