Putting some ideas out there:
"Two broad reforms are needed. The first is that we must create a part-time, nonpartisan citizen legislature -- a model that has proven effective in states like Texas (part-time) and Nebraska (part-time and nonpartisan). Californians need to be able to elect leaders whose primary interest is public service, not furthering political careers.
The second fundamental reform is on taxes and spending. Other states have passed a Taxpayers' Bill of Rights. We need to do the same, so I and others will soon be launching a campaign to enact the following:
- Two-year budgeting. This would allow a part-time legislature the time it needs to hold hearings, conduct negotiations, and provide oversight to determine the state's spending priorities in the first year, while in the second, write and pass the budget.
- End budget stalemates. This is easier than it sounds if we enact this reform: Automatically adopt the governor's proposed budget, provided it is free of tax hikes, if the legislature fails to pass a budget by its constitutional deadline. This reform would give the legislature a compelling reason to move the budget along briskly, and it would end the continual government shutdowns resulting from partisan bickering and gridlock.
- New spending controls. To prevent overspending, we need mandatory limits on the growth of government. State spending should not grow faster than inflation, and a 3% budget reserve must be established to prevent unanticipated expenditures, such as natural disasters, from creating a deficit.
- Refund budget surpluses. When the state government is flush with funds, taxpayers should get some of their money back. We need a mandate for the state to send tax-rebate checks to all taxpayers when surpluses exceed the rate of inflation. Had this reform been law in 2001, that year's $10 billion budget surplus would have yielded each taxpayer a rebate of about $667."