11/18/2010 by David Nott
A big job for newly elected leaders
Nationally, as was foreshadowed by the special election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, independents gave the Republicans gains in Congress.
Californians voted for the status quo in their elected state representatives. Although the Republicans spent a fortune on the campaign, money cannot substitute for a clear, compelling vision that moves voters emotionally.
As with the last election, elected representatives are being told to live within their means, even as the voters made it easier for the Legislature to pass a budget. This message was reinforced locally when voters in San Diego rejected tax increases, and voters in Bakersfield took action against public sector compensation.
Voters also resoundingly said that they want competitive political districts rather than gerrymandered, safe seats. Better redistricting holds the hope to improve governance long term.
The Legislature and new governor need to face current state budget realities and future unfunded obligations, and make structural reforms. They need to imagine a future with less dependence on funding from Washington, D.C. They also need to recognize that people and jobs are actually leaving California for the first time due to the high tax and regulatory burden.
David Nott is the president of the Reason Foundation.