The State of California is facing a serious budget problem with an expected shortfall of over $25 billion. The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce supports Governor Brown’s effort to address the problem in a comprehensive manner. Budget cuts are necessary but can be costly in terms of lost jobs and services. Allowing the voters to decide if temporary tax measures should be extended is appropriate and the Chamber will evaluate those ballot measures at the appropriate time.
While supportve of the overall plan, the Chamber continues its call for action in other areas critical to putting the state on a firm financial footing. These critical policy areas include public employee pension reform, regulatory reform to help attract and retain jobs and improvements to the budget process.
In a letter to Brown, grocers association Chairman Jim Amen and President & CEO Ronald K. Fong wrote to “express support of your efforts in concept, which will allow voters to decide California’s future. It goes without saying that our state is faced with an unprecedented deficit and that the solution to our current fiscal problems will be significantly burdensome for citizens and businesses alike.”
All this as the governor continues trying to provide enough business-sector cover to any Legislative Republicans who’ll break with their leadership to vote alongside Democrats to enact cuts and let voters decide in a special election whether to extend current income, sales and vehicle taxes for another five years.
So far, no Republican has committed to doing so, but tense meetings continue in Sacramento. Tomorrow is the deadline Brown had set for legislative votes on the package, as he said he’d need this much time in order to call and prepare for a June 7 special election, ahead of the state constitution’s June 15 deadline for adopting next year’s budget.