Balancing California's budget: not pretty but possible

March 25, 2011

I have been in Sacramento as a legislator less than four months. When I arrived, despite being a freshman in the Assembly, I asked to serve on the Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services because that is where the battle for the dollars necessary to protect safety net programs for the most vulnerable among us must be fought. As the saying goes, be careful what you ask for. Speaker John Perez appointed me chair of the committee.

The problem is that California is broke. In fact, we are staring at a $26 billion deficit, which the state is constitutionally and pragmatically obliged to eliminate.