Politicians and others often tout that California’s economy is doing great; if we were a country we would be ranked at 6th or 7th in the world. While it’s true that based on just the GDP California would be ranked high when compared to all countries and 1st when compared to the other states a big economy is not necessarily a healthy economy.
California had over 38 million people in 2014, so a much better comparison is the per capita GDP by state, not the gross GDP. In 2014 California ranked 10th in per capita GDP but if you adjust that by the cost of living, which in California is about 34% higher than the national average, it brings California’s rank down to 39th in the country which isn’t very impressive.
For the California economy to improve we need to improve the business climate in the state. Currently new businesses are not attracted to the state and existing businesses are leaving; this is due to its high corporate taxes and over-regulation. I feel that the first step in improving this environment is to bring the regulatory agencies, which are currently run by unelected officials with no transparency or oversight, back under the control of the legislature as required by the California Constitution. With the proper oversight I believe that many of these agencies would be reduced or eliminated.
In 2015 California ranked 43rd in overall education compared to all other states and the District of Columbia, and ranked last in terms of student-teacher ratio. This while spending the largest portion of our state’s budget, approximately 42%, on education. So I think it’s fair to say what the state is currently doing just isn’t working. But to fix our failing education system I think we need to start thinking outside the box.
Currently we are burdened by the Federal regulations of the Department of Education because we choose to accept their funding. But the funds we receive are LESS than the amount we spend to meet those regulations, which aren’t helping to educate our kids. I would advocate NOT taking the federal funding and instead work on creating an education model that actually works.
I’ve always been a proponent of school choice; either a school voucher or tax credit system. School choice empowers families and provides children with access to a better education; it allows for all parents to be able to provide private education for their kids and provides greater opportunities and choices. This system wouldn’t mean the end of public schools but it will require them to compete against not-for-profit and for-profit private schools if they are to stay in business.
Currently we as a state have no choice but to participate in the federal mandates of the Affordable Care Act. This may change depending on the outcome of the presidential election, but for now all provisions of the ACA are in effect and nothing can be done on a state level to change our participation.
Recent legislation, Health care for All, authored by the current senator of my district aimed to extend Covered California to all citizens of the state, regardless of legal citizenship status. This legislation is symbolic at best as it only directs that the state will ask permission from the Federal Government to allow us an exemption as the ACA specifically says it’s for legal citizens only. However I have a Free Market solution that would indeed provide affordable health care for all regardless of legal status.
One straightforward remedy to this problem would be to alleviate regulatory burdens that prevent free and affordable community clinics from operating where they’re needed. In California a licensed M.D. is required to supervise nurse practitioners who work at clinics at a ratio of one M.D. for every four nurse practitioners. If this requirement were lifted clinics such as Walmart’s Care Clinics could open in the areas they are needed the most.