The federal government’s $34 trillion debt is a crisis. Last year, the US paid $659 billion in interest alone, which is more than the government spent on Medicaid, veterans, or children. This won’t get fixed in one budget cycle. We need to follow a multi-decade, fiscally responsible plan to bring the debt under control. 

Drawing from my experience negotiating budgets for large government agencies, there are two ways to reduce deficits – raise revenue and lower spending. We can do both without raising tax rates or cutting government services.

We can generate revenue by closing loopholes and implementing tax reforms to ensure that corporations and the ultra-wealthy pay the taxes they owe.

We can lower costs by stabilizing government operational budgets and making forward investments in catastrophe prevention. 

The constant lurches of near government shutdowns and unpredictable short-term spending bills raise the day-to-day costs of most US government operations. Multi-year operational budgets for government agencies will lower the costs of these contracts and prevent politicians from using government services as a political football.

Finally, government programs are often budgeted to respond to devastating crises, rather than making forward investments to prevent disasters. For example, I helped design and implement a California-wide wildfire prevention initiative. Within the first year of the program, a $1 billion investment had established 1,200 wildfire safety projects, like fuel breaks, throughout the state. Despite a larger number of wildfires from the year before, there was a significant reduction in the acres burned, dropping from 2.4 million acres burned in 2021 to 360,000 acres in 2022. This $1 billion investment in prevention resulted in a roughly $2 billion savings in the emergency fire suppression fund from the year before.

These are the kinds of responsible fiscal strategies that will help us protect the financial well-being of both our local community and the nation.