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SACRAMENTO: State legislation, funding mechanism before enactment?: Commentary (George Skelton), "Here's an idea for legislators: Figure out how to pay for a spending bill before proposing it" ....

* Los Angeles Times (George Skelton):  "Here's an idea for legislators: Figure out how to pay for a spending bill before proposing it" - From the LAT:

You’d think from reading some promoted legislation that the Capitol was a candy store handing out free goodies. A lot of appealing items are on display. The cost? Oh, that. We’ll worry about it later.

Here’s my suggestion for a new law — an old but scoffed-at idea: No spending bill can advance through the Legislature that doesn’t pinpoint precisely its source of money. We have that requirement in home mortgage lending. Also, before a developer can build a housing tract, the source of water must be identified. Too often in the Legislature, however, it’s buy now, find the money later.

This particularly came to mind last week when some Assembly Democrats proposed the most generous college aid program in the nation.


“At first blush, what’s not to like?” says H.D. Palmer, spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown’s Finance Department. “A debt-free college education is a laudable goal. But it comes with a significant price tag and lots of questions.”

Yes, the kind of nagging questions that too often don’t get answered forthrightly in the Legislature. They boil down to this: Where do you get the money? From raising taxes? From chopping other programs? .................