California Common Sense has published its newest report, “Unsustainable California: The Top 10 Issues Facing the Golden State. Authors include Adam Tatum, Autumn Carter, Madhu Ravi, and Davina Kaldani, assisted by editors Kimberly Ang and Gwendolyn Holst.
The thesis of the report is that despite the propaganda presented to us by elected officials and friendly media of a purported recovery, “California has many lingering challenges that the state’s political leaders have yet to address and resolve. Studying these issues reveals a common underlying theme: unsustainability. California as we know it is simply unsustainable. To correct California’s unsustainable course, the state requires informed citizens and leaders willing to tackle the state’s budget realities.”
In the following sections, California Common Sense presents and assesses California’s 10 greatest challenges. The 10 critical issues are as follows:
- Water Supply: Outdated Infrastructure and Unreliable Water Supply
- Revenue Uncertainty: Unpredictable Tax Structures and Budgets
- Wall of Debt: Accounting Gimmicks and Understated Debt
- Public Retirement Benefits: Missed Payments, Mounting Debts, and Poor Management
- Healthcare: Rising Costs and Diminishing Access to Care
- K-12 Education: Low, Unstable Funding and Poor Student Performance
- High-Speed Rail: Unrealistic Estimates and Poor Implementation
- Crime and Corrections: Massive Overcrowding, Rising Costs, and Measuring Realignment’s Impact
- Economy: Lagging Recovery and Uneven Economic Growth
- Civic Engagement: Lack of Transparency, Eroding Public Trust, and Low Voter Turnout
California Common sense says the issues are all interrelated and concludes:
On the financial side, California will see its budget increasingly dominated by rising healthcare costs, retirement benefit costs, and debt service payments. These rising costs, coupled will volatile and unstable revenues, will result in less funding for California’s schools and many essential public services.
State resources and infrastructures will become increasingly strained by a growing and aging population. However, even today, California’s water infrastructure is inadequate, its prisons are overcrowded, and the implementation of its largest transportation project is unstable.