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Letters to the Editor: There is no $97.5-billion budget surplus when so much in California needs fixing

Gov. Gavin Newsom delivers his annual State of the State address in Sacramento on March 8.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

To the editor: Columnist George Skelton’s griping that the $300-billion state budget is obscene may be good for spilling spleen, but it ignores the state’s real needs.

There is no surplus, but there is an opportunity to address unmet needs that can make California more prosperous and environmentally secure in the face of drought and deadly heat waves.

Rebuilding an education infrastructure depleted over decades and creating excellent, affordable healthcare for all Californians are no-brainers. Investing in non-carbon energy production through massive solar projects on land already sacrificed to cement and asphalt would, in conjunction with a reimagined grid and storage, cut electricity costs, reduce catastrophic wildfires and provide more than enough reliable power.

Perhaps The Times could help Sacramento think outside the city limits by asking readers to submit ideas.

Carl Selkin, Pasadena

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To the editor: The record surplus tells us one thing — we are being taxed way too much.

The saddest thing is, despite this $97.5-billion surplus, the tax on gasoline is scheduled to rise further, as if Californians have not suffered enough from paying the highest gasoline prices in the nation.

Instead of new spending, Gov. Gavin Newsom should direct his attention and surplus to running our state more efficiently. Just pouring more money into K-12 education alone will not likely improve it much, as the system needs a major overhaul, including measures that may aggravate the teachers unions.

Instead of sending out a $400 check to each car owner, the governor should consider reducing our tax burden for a change. The government’s role is not to take more from us than what is necessary to operate our state efficiently.

There is little risk that Newsom will lose reelection, so it is time for him to do the right thing and not just the politically expedient thing.

John T. Chiu, Newport Beach

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To the editor: California has a government surplus of about $97.5 billion. Yes, we need to address many important issues, including funding for schools and healthcare.

Can we also try to use a lot of this money to end homelessness? A unified task force is needed to approach this pressing issue. We can no longer take a fragmented approach and have overwhelming bureaucracy prevent housing from being built.

The time is now to solve homelessness. And if not now, when?

Deborah R. Ishida, Beverly Hills

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To the editor: This is the perfect time for California to purchase firefighting “Super Scooper” planes from Canada. Instead of renting them for only a few months each year, we should have our own.

Wildfire season is now year-round, so having these planes at our disposal has become a necessity. Possibly the federal government could contribute to cost and upkeep, as many large fires have been in national forests.

This is an issue that bears serious consideration.

Marshall Belgrad, Santa Clarita


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