Facing unfunded pension and retiree medical liabilities of $220 billion or more, California has the highest debt total of all the 50 states, yet voters are asked every election to approve even more bonded debt and to vote for candidates with varying philosophies for state spending and debt.
That’s why Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) has introduced SB 1251 – to require the state’s updated balance sheet, including accounting for outstanding debts and unfunded liabilities, to be printed in the state’s official Voter Information Pamphlet prior to each election.
“California voters need more information by which to assess and decide on ballot questions,” said Senator Moorlach, who is the legislature’s only member trained as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). “We should all be in favor of greater transparency and information for the voters. Providing the state’s balance sheet in the voter information pamphlet is a good first step.”
“Taxpayers are being asked to approve more bonds, higher taxes, and more debt,”continued Senator Moorlach. “Before we ask them to make that choice, shouldn’t we let them know what the state’s current fiscal situation is?”
SB 1251 would require that the state’s latest financial numbers, as compiled by the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) from the latest Comprehensive Annual Finance Report (CAFR), be printed in the first few pages of the Voter Information Pamphlet, including:
- Immediate past fiscal year state revenue
- Immediate past fiscal year state spending
- Current unfunded state pension fund and retiree medical liabilities
- Current estimated of unfunded transportation infrastructure needs
- Current issued bond debt
- Current Net Unrestricted Assets or Net Unrestricted Deficit from the most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).
“As a CPA, I understand the value of making good decisions based on sound data,” continued Senator Moorlach. “When we have an informed electorate, we’ll also have an engaged electorate. The more information we can give the voters, the more likely it is that they’ll feel they’re making informed decisions. That will benefit all of us.”
This article was released by the Office of Senator John Moorlach.