Thursday, June 4, 2009

A long way from home

Let me recommend this essay by Marc Herman, who grew up with me in Southern California. The essay is qualified praise for Marc's adopted home of Catalunya, Spain, mostly in contrast to California, which... well, Marc says it best:
This same week, my home state, California, declared it was so bankrupt (literally) that it was considering closing access to state parks, and so bankrupt (metaphorically) that it would deny consenting adults the right to marry whomever they wished.
I've been experiencing some of these same feelings lately when I compare California to my adopted state of Colorado. No, same sex couples can't marry here, either, but things may be moving in that direction. On the budgetary front, Colorado just did something very smart, repealing a measure dating from 1991 that limited the growth of the state government's operating budget. That measure was one of several that had kept the legislature in knots.

Colorado's and California's legislatures face similar constraints, required by various initiatives to spend a certain amount on education and other areas of the budget but limited in how much revenue they can raise. These problems get worse during recessions, when revenues fall off but the mandated spending stays the same. California's problems remain worse thanks to the two-thirds budget passage requirement. Colorado still has its problems, but it's actually moving in the right direction, which is something I haven't seen out of the Golden State in a while.

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