The state's biggest cost driver is prisons. The prison budget has doubled in the past decade to $10 billion. The state has 173,000 inmates, which is roughly equivalent to locking up everyone in the city of Ontario [California]. We spend roughly $45,000 on each prisoner, which is just about what it costs to send a student to Yale. Yet, California has a 70 percent recidivism rate...what we are doing now isn't working...
The state's 2009-2010 revenue is chiefly derived from personal income taxes accounting for almost half--49 percent; sales and use taxes make up 34.6 percent; corporation taxes represent 10.7 percent; the rest come from a myriad number of sources.
1. The war on drugs is bankrupting the state. The state spends huge sums jailing thousands of drug addicts.
2. The pro-law-enforcement mentality post-9-11 may have caused D.A.s to prosecute more non-violent offenders, knowing juries would be more fearful of anyone suspected of a crime.
To be or not to be a libertarian--more Californians should be asking themselves this question.
More on California's problems here.