Devolving Power in California

California Governor Jerry Brown has a proposal to deal with state spending – shift it to the local level. California’s budget deficit is anticipated to be $24 billion this fiscal year. The governor’s plan would pass on the costs and responsibilities for certain programs to county government. For example, low-level offenders would be sent to county rather than state jails. Governor Brown is also talking about getting rid of unfunded mandates and spreading the cost of local programs to the local level.

The proposal sounds like it is an application of sound fiscal federalism principles – local services should be locally administered and paid for via local levies. If implemented correctly, Governor Brown’s plan may be a fiscal blueprint for other cash-strapped states.