Masters Thesis

A Policy analysis: the California state budget crisis

The state of California is experiencing massive financial deficits and is in need of correction. The state has undergone 12 of the last 20 years in deficit, amounting to an estimated $116 billion gap. California has a present estimated deficit of $42 billion and has been declared in a state of crisis. The state is suffering from the financial massacre. Many cuts have been made forcing massive layoffs, unemployment hikes, home foreclosures and a suffering population. The economic condition of the state of California is in dire need of repair. Although there are countless alternatives in such an ill structured problem, the three key alternatives were illuminated in this study. The three alternatives consisted of do nothing, imposing massive reductions, or correcting the four obstacles. I identified and applied the evaluative criteria of feasibility, effectiveness, timeliness, and externalities to the alternative selection process. The alternative most productively and effectively meeting the set criteria was removing the four obstacles that stand in the way of reducing the state’s debt. These four obstacles are the supermajority vote requirement for budget passage, the state’s sensitive revenue structure, a disproportionate population growth, and the approval of programs without specified funding. Although policymakers cannot change the disproportionate population growth factor, the remaining three are all feasible and tangible but not without a challenge. The correction factors require much cooperation, perseverance in the face of past failures, and a possible constitutional amendment; however, all are within political feasibility. The state needs economic recovery and removing the obstacles to debt reduction seems to be best fit for the present state of California. Californians have been suffering as a result of mismanagement and procrastination and now is the time for change and correction.


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