Like a literary pathologist, John Decker dissects California s budget, diagnoses the disease and then recommends a cure. His explanation of the state s decline into fiscal chaos will inform the most expert budget junkie while remaining accessible to the casual reader. Decker s meticulous research and first-hand accounts of past budget battles should be required reading not only for every new legislator but for anyone who hopes to understand how California government got where it is today. --Daniel Weintraub, Sacramento Bee
Think you know the cause of California s budget problems? John Decker will make you think again. Without relying on conventional wisdom or partisan grandstanding, he outlines his take on what ails the state and provides his solutions for California to regain its financial integrity. --Jim Brulte, former Assembly and Senate Republican leader
In his timely and engaging history of California's finances, John Decker catalogues the many decisions leading to the current budget paralysis. He is a careful and amiable guide through the many well-intentioned but fateful decisions made over the course of three governorships. Decker, known for his thoughtful analysis and strategic knowledge of fiscal mechanisms, describes the financial and institutional pressures bearing down on the state's balance sheet. His is a measured and succinct analysis which does not resort to pabulum and facile recommendation.
The toxic goo covering and coloring budget decisions was layered on during the last 20 years. There is no easy solution or quick clean up. Ultimately, Decker's book is optimistic about the state's fiscal future. Though he proposes no miracle solution, his recommendations provide a constructive and reasoned way out of the mess. --Robert Hertzberg, former Speaker of the Assembly
About the Author
John Decker is an expert on California's state and local finances. Currently he serves as executive director of the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission. For the commission and its chair (State Treasurer Bill Lockyer) the Commission collects and analyzes information on all debt issued by state and local entities. The Commission publishes in-depth reports on California's debt loads and policy.
Having written extensively on public debt, finance, and budget matters, Decker has also taught budgeting at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. The Rockefeller Foundation awarded him a research fellowship in Bellagio, Italy, as did the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
After serving as the lead budget staffer for the Senate Republican leader and two Democratic Assembly Speakers, Decker gained a unique perspective on state finance.