08/04/2021

Dan Walters: State tax reforms or state tax increases?

There is a substantial list of governance issues that former Gov. Jerry Brown said were important, but that he left on his desk for successor Gavin Newsom.

For instance, although he and the Legislature enacted a very modest reform of public employee pensions, he repeatedly said it was only a first step and more was needed to make pension systems financially sound.

Brown never returned to the issue, however, and unfunded pension liabilities remain stubbornly high, forcing state and local governments to cough up ever-greater amounts of money to keep the pension systems afloat.

Early in his second stint as governor, Brown called reforming the California Environmental Quality Act “the Lord’s work,” because it was being misused to block badly needed public and private projects. However, Brown never made a serious effort at reform while granting specific projects, particularly professional sports arenas, CEQA relief.

And then there’s tax reform.

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