Commentary

Solving the CA Budget: Governator Looking to Flat Tax and More Private Prisons

California is facing the worst state budget deficit in recent memory—and maybe worst ever (caveat for sometime during the Depression). Governor Schwarzenegger is proposing radical changes, including a flat tax and taking on state education funding and entitlements, something that really does require Terminator like strength. The Wall Street Journal lists many of them here, but one stands out:

The state spends $49,000 per prison inmate, or 50% more per criminal than the average state. “Other states have privately run correctional facilities,” notes Mr. Schwarzenegger. “Why not California?” Good question.

Yes, a very good question. Interestingly enough, there are several private prisons in the Golden State. The GEO Group operates four prisons for California’s DOC and one federal prison. Cornell operates four state prisons, four federal prisons, and seven city jails in California. CCA operates a Federal BOP has a facility in California City and an INS facility in San Deigo.

The practice is there, the state just needs to take advantage of it, and other opportunities, in order to get its budget nightmare under control.

Anthony Randazzo

Anthony Randazzo is director of economic research for Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. His research portfolio is regularly evolving, and he maintains a wide interest in economic policy at both a domestic and international level.