Today’s California is undergoing changes and facing uncertainty. Like many states nationwide, California is emerging from the recent economic recession short on revenue and high on debt. The state economy shows slow signs of recovery. California’s released budget suggests that the state now has a modest operating budget, and the state’s Democratic political leaders have already begun painting a rosy picture of California’s economic outlook. However, the full story is in the details and needs to be revealed for the true position of our Golden State.

A closer look reveals that California has many lingering and potentially devastating challenges that the state’s political leaders have yet to address and resolve. Studying these issues reveals a common underlying theme: UNSUSTAINABILITY. California as we know it is simply unsustainable. To correct California’s unsustainable course, the state requires informed citizens and leaders willing to tackle the state’s budget realities. We must end the cycle of neglect, ignorance, and postponement. Unless we end the cycle we leave these costly problems for future Californians to inherit.

California as we know it is simply unsustainable. To correct California’s unsustainable course, the state requires informed citizens and leaders willing to tackle the state’s budget realities.

Over the next several years, volatile revenues, disproportionate spending growth, mounting debts, and inadequate infrastructures present significant hurdles for the state and its citizens. All the while, California’s population will grow and age considerably, placing even greater strains on state resources. Even worse, California’s citizens are not armed with sufficient information due to California’s notoriously low levels of transparency, public disclosure, and civic engagement.

In the following sections, I present and assess California’s greatest challenges. The critical issues are as follows:

  • Our Water Supply – Its Outdated Infrastructure
  • Revenue Uncertainty: Unpredictable Tax Structures and Budgets
  • Wall of Debt: Accounting Gimmicks and Understated Debt
  • Public Retirement Benefits: Missed Payments, Mounting Debts, and Poor Management
  • Healthcare: Rising Costs to individuals, the government and the medical professionals
  • K-12 Education: Highest budget yet stated as Low, Unstable Funding and Poor Student Performance
  • High-Speed Rail: Unrealistic Estimates and Poor Implementation
  • Crime and Corrections: Massive Overcrowding, Rising Costs, and Measuring Realignment’s Impact
  • Protection of the 2nd Amendment – The right to keep and bear arms
  • The growing homeless population
  • Illegal Alien (undocumented) population and government support
  • The rising population of drug addiction, alcohol abuse and mental Illness
  • The unethetical and corrupted voting system
  • The economy: its lagging recovery and uneven economic growth
  • Civic Engagement: Lack of Transparency, Eroding Public Trust, and Low Voter Turnout with high voting system corruption.

I selected these challenges due to their unsustainability and the risk they pose to future Golden State generations. While no report can cover all of California’s challenges, this provides a core understanding of critical issues and the importance they bear on the state’s long-term future.