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Cleaning Up California Begins with the Entire Executive Branch

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Martin Deidrich

    Recently, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom delivered a report declaring that without a "jobs czar."

    California will find it difficult to compete with other states.

    Newsom also added that the state should eliminate many commissions that overlap in authority.

    Both good points, but these ideas should be viewed as only a first step.

    Fragmentation in California begins in the executive branch. There are 93 departments and agencies in the governor's office alone.

    To Newsom's point, at least four agencies and seven departments deal with elements of job creation or retention.

    Abundant overlap also exists in the areas of health care (three agencies and eight departments) and natural resources (two agencies and eight departments).

    The other areas of overlap go on from there. Cleaning up this mess would go a long way toward eliminating the fragmentation and overlap issues raised by Newsom.

    But there's more.

    Why does California need a state Treasurer, Controller, Board of Equalization, and Franchise Tax Board? Talk about unnecessary overlap.

    Combining the first three into a single elective office would end a lot of confusion and save money.

    Why does California elect an Insurance Commissioner when the governor's office has the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency?

    Surely the separate elective office could be merged there?

    Finally, with apologies to the current incumbent, why does California have a Lieutenant Governor?

    Other than serving on the Board of Regents and Board of Trustees along with the State Lands Commission, most of the Lieutenant Governor's responsibilities are pretty thin.

    Certainly, an individual with Newsom's talents could better serve the state in a position with more authority and responsibility.

    Of course, every one of the individuals working in the above-mentioned offices will defend his or her post as critical to California's existence. Some defenses may be more justified than others, but clearly many should be eliminated because of duplicative or unnecessary functions.

    Gavin Newsom's right--California needs a "jobs czar," but more than that, we need a "Clean Up Czar."

    By streamlining the state's administrative apparatus, we can take a big step toward making California government more competitive and more understandable.