SACRAMENTO – Senator John M.W. Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, released the following statement on today’s California State Budget vote:
"The state is addressing a dramatic recession that came on like a heart attack and was made worse by the Governor's self-imposed coma of the state's economy.
"Now is the time for serious systemic changes, as relying on reserves and federal funding will not be sufficient for the next few years. Consequently, Sacramento needs to address the budget at three levels.
"First, downsize. Counties, cities and school districts are reducing staff as a result of significant revenue reductions. California should do the same. For something visible and tangible that would communicate a seriousness for fiscal prudence would be to stop pursuing the High-Speed Rail project. The longer our Governor waits to make cuts, the greater the pain will be in the next two years.
"Second, in the next few years the two major pension systems, CalPERS and CalSTRS, will ask for even higher annual required contributions. California needs massive pension reform and the Governor would be wise to establish a committee to make recommendations. Reviewing the state of Wisconsin's shared-risk pension plan would be a good starting point.
"And third, Sacramento must address its retiree medical unfunded liability of some $90 billion. Orange County successfully negotiated with its bargaining units in 2006 to reduce its obligation by 71 percent. A similar reduction would remove some $60 billion in liabilities from the state's balance sheet and free up funds normally allocated to the annual required contributions.
"Sacramento has to take a long-term perspective. Giving it a couple of aspirins and hoping California and its subsidiaries will be fine in the morning will not cut it. This is why I am opposed to this proposed annual budget."