A humaneway to cut?

For more information about a humane budget, visit the California Budget Project at www.cbp.org.

The bad news last week about the state budget deficit wasn’t all that surprising. We’ve known for months that expected tax receipts were going to fall short and that the estimates of federal aid were inflated.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t bad news.

There is no way to keep California moving without some serious cuts to spending. But once again, we must argue against taking those cuts from the most vulnerable among us: the elderly, the sick, people with mental-health problems, impoverished children, students. Instead, let’s look for ways to boost revenues available by cutting corporate subsidies, by taxing oil production (we’re the only oil-producing state that fails to do so), and by considering some creative ways to use fees and taxes so that they both provide revenue and discourage unsustainable practices. For instance, how about a vehicle registration tax based on gross vehicle weight, which would take into account the damage that unnecessarily oversized vehicles do to the roads, but would include a break for those large vehicles (buses, farm equipment) that are truly necessary?

There’s no question we need to cut spending. But where and how to cut is the question, and it needs to be answered humanely, with consideration for the planet, the state and the people.