By: Martin Garrick
With the start of the California Legislature’s 2012 budget year, I will introduce legislation that will move the state legislature to part-time status and save taxpayers money. The bill will be introduced when the Legislature reconvenes in January.
I’ve spent a great deal of time researching the most effective ways to improve government efficiency and save taxpayer dollars. I plan to introduce legislation that will completely reform how Sacramento does business by moving the state forward and going back to a part-time legislature.
Most states have part-time legislatures including Texas and Florida, two of the most populated. Until 1966, the California Legislature was a part-time body before it switched to a full –time, full-pay and benefits legislature. Since that time, the budget to run the Legislature has grown exponentially and there are thousands of bills introduced each year. Since my election five years ago, the legislature has introduced 11,878 bills, spending valuable resources on many unnecessary bills like banning tanning salon visits by teens and bad bills that provide education grant money to illegal immigrants.
In 2001-2002, the budget for 120 legislators was $197 million with the expected budget for the 2011-2012 session set at $256 million. In just 10 years, the legislature’s budget has increased by $59 million or nearly a half a million dollars per representative.
At a time when the state faces crushing budget deficits it makes no sense that the Legislature’s budget continues to grow. The full-time Legislature model has created a system that only generates more unnecessary legislation and over-regulation driving successful businesses out of the state at a tremendous expense to taxpayers. I believe a part-time system made up of true citizen legislators who must return to their districts and live under the laws they create is a cost-saving measure and better way to run our state.