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John Campbell

John Campbell (R-Irvine) is an Assemblyman representing the 70th District in Orange County. Mr. Campbell is the Vice-Chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. He is the only CPA in the California State legislature and recently received a national award as Freshman Republican Legislator of the Year. He represents the cities of Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Woods and Lake Forest. He can be reached through his Assembly website and through the website for his California Senate campaign.

Groundhog Day
It's budget "deja vu" all over again and again
[John Campbell] 8/2/03

One of my favorite movies has long been Groundhog Day. If you
haven't seen it, it is a comedy in which Bill Murray is trapped in a time
warp of a sort in which he wakes up every morning at the same time to
experience the exact same day, groundhog day, over and over again. In the
movie, he does this literally hundreds of times experiencing exactly the
same weather, music on the radio, people on the streets, traffic, etc. If
you haven't seen it, it is a very clever movie.

But I did not write this column to be a movie review. In fact, I feel that I
find myself in a sort of groundhog day-like time warp. For all of my 3 years
in the legislature, I have experienced a January in which there is a budget
deficit greater than that which was forecast. That deficit gets ever worse
until June, at which time an on-time budget is not reached. Then sometime in
July or August, a budget agreement is reached with nearly all Democrats and
a few Republicans voting for it, and then we do it all over again.

Well, the budget that was passed by the Assembly this week, will guarantee
that I will experience the same groundhog day again in my 4th year in the
Legislature. Let me make a few predictions about what next year's budget
crisis (groundhog day) will be like:

  • The deficit now projected at $7.9 Billion will be considerably larger than
  • A number of assumptions in the budget will prove to not come to pass and
    some of the debt instruments will remain unissued due to legal challenges.
  • Our state credit rating will be at or amongst the lowest in the nation.
    Democrats will call for tax increases in order to avoid "draconian cuts in
    services to the blind and disabled." Republicans will call for spending
    reductions that didn't happen last year.
  • The only thing that may change some of this, is if a new Governor is
    elected on October 7th. That Governor cannot change last year's budget but
    he or she could call for some midyear adjustments to improve the situation.

Does all of this sound familiar? The budget agreement just reached gives us
a budget for this year and continues the functions of government, it may
have been the best deal we could do since Democrats refused to reduce
spending. But, because it increases spending by more than $1 Billion over
last year, the crisis is far from over. Economic growth can never catch up
with a combination of continually increasing spending and continually
mounting debt and deferral repayments. The crisis will not be over until
spending goes down. Until then, the mythical groundhog day of the Bill
Murray movie will seem oh so real to California voters.

By the way, you may have guessed that I voted "no" on the budget.


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