The sun has set on 2012. What will 2013 hold for the Golden State? (photo: Flickr/kajo0069)
Last year Californians heard a lot of talk about things going from bad to worse, especially if none of the revenue-increasing measures on the ballot were approved by voters. Thankfully, that scenario remained a hypothetical and further cuts to the budget were narrowly averted. The fiscal outlook this year is better, thankfully, and there is great momentum carrying over to 2013 in other areas as we look to determine the big issues we’ll need to face as a state.
We’ve already mentioned water as one issue retaining its importance. Dan Walters over at the Bee lead off the year with a water piece as well. John Meyers, like many others, has his eye on the Democratic supermajority while wondering how the newly anointed ruling party, which has enough clout to overrule a veto from its own governor should it see fit, is going to handle this power. Gov. Brown is urging caution in this new economic climate, but Democraticats with power have not exactly been frugal in recent years, so this remains to be seen.
And while high profile perennial issues such as the High Speed Rail and softening California’s stiff regulatory environment for business are sure to remain ripe, it’s easy to overlook incremental procdeural gains that once again have California setting the example. We touched on the major gains in transparency in one of our year-closing pieces, and we strongly believe that this is fertile ground for future improvement.
New districts drawn by non-partisan hands and vetted by citizens statewide were upheld. The site containing all public state payroll information got an overhaul, earning high marks in both the availability of the information and the ease of navigating it.
And we cotinue to take strides in moderninzing our electoral process, successfully instituting online voter registration, looking for ways to expand it, and working toward same day voter registration (OVR) in 2016. As an organization, we believe that the state eventually releasing an API for OVR will be a major boon in its expansion as we tap into the vast creativity of in-state developers who can take the tool to the next level.
We will continue to champion these efforts which enfranchse more and more swaths of Californians who may have been left out of the process before or are just joining it as they turn 18.
And of course, we will continue to push for greater accountability from our elected officials by shedding light on gut-and-amend practices which are still legal and the notion that lawmakers can cast a vote one way and then revise that vote down the line with no repercussion. We look forward to another year in which California takes strides in all areas toward restoring some of its lost luster.