This year’s version, called “Follow the Money 2021,” contains dozens of examples of how public funds have been squandered, embezzled or otherwise misused, plus situations HJTA says show politicians getting special treatment. One could quibble with some of the examples, but in the main they indicate that taxpayers often are not getting as much bang for their bucks as they should. So, oe might wonder, how does California compare with other states in that regard? By happenstance, as HJTA was preparing its report, an organization called Wallet Hub was offering an answer. In March, Wallet Hub, a website devoted to consumer finance, released a study of what it calls “return on investment,” merging tax burdens with quality of services to develop an index that compares states on how efficiently they spend public funds. The factors included in the service side of the equation include schools, roadways, hospitals, crime, water quality and poverty. Minnesota is scored as having the best services. Unfortunately — but perhaps not surprisingly — California does not fare well in its “return on investment” score. In fact, it’s the fourth worst overall, just ahead of Hawaii, New Mexico and North Dakota. New Hampshire scores the highest, followed by Florida and South Dakota.
At CalMatters, Dan Walters writes about California public policy, starting with an annual report by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association: