Campbell (R-Irvine) is a California State Senator representing
the 35th District
in Orange County. He represents the cities of Newport
Laguna Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach
and Cypress. He can be reached through his Senate website
and through the website
for his California Senate campaign. [go to Campbell index]
Good Ole Days
The budget didn't used to be in such a mess...
[John Campbell] 2/1/05
Often when people are lamenting our current
state budget crisis, they harken back to the "good old days" of
the 60's. In those days, they recall, California had great schools
and we built the interstate highway system. Today, they will
moan, “our schools are failing and our roads are crumbling … we
don't spend enough money on either." Then, depending on
their ideology, they will say that taxes need to be higher and
we need more spending.
has happened between the 60's and now to cause this perception?
A look at the facts is instructive.
Total state tax
burden in 1965/66 was 6.39% of personal income compared to 8.44%
in 2005/06. That means the state is spending 25% more of your
income than it did back in the “glory days”. So,
the state is now collecting lots more taxes, even adjusted for
inflation, than we did in the 60's. As usual, more taxes have
not resulted in more roads or better schools.
So what happened to the money? Here is a chart showing how total
state spending by category has changed from the mid-1960's to
the Governor's proposed 2005/2006 budget:
|Health & Welfare
As you can see, education (K-12 and higher Ed) are getting about
the same percentage as they did 40 years ago. But the major change
is that health and welfare programs absorb nearly double the
share of the budget than they did then. And transportation/roads
get less than half the share they did in the 60's.
So, we are told that our education system has declined because
we spend less money. But we actually spend more of our total
economy on education than we did 40 years ago. We are told that
we underfund welfare programs. But spending on them has doubled.
The one place where we truly do spend half of what we spent in
the 60's is on roads. And that is the only place it truly does
Union Antics: In last week's report, I quoted an ad that the
teacher's union is stating that education
been "cut by $9.8 billion" when in fact it has increased
from $35 billion to $50 billion in the last 7 years. This shows
that teacher's union bosses clearly need some remedial math instruction.
(Since when does 35-9.8= 50? It must be that ‘new math’)
Now, the president of the teacher's union sent me a letter in
which she blasts the governor's pension reform proposals. In
referring to the proposal under which teachers would have a defined
contribution pension plan, the letter states,
has explained what society will do with the ranks of those
whose retirement investments fail.
Will California expand
the ranks of those receiving public assistance? Shall the destitute
sell apples on the streets? Will we open the poor houses for
to a defined contribution plan suddenly going to cause CALPERS
investment returns to collapse? Are
they afraid to bear
the risk of the politically correct investing that the union
bosses direct? What about the taxpayers who currently bear this
risk for themselves and for the public sector? Will the union
bosses buy apples from them out of their pensions? So, I guess
in addition to retaking second grade math, these union bosses
may also need some high school classes in "home ec" or
Remember as I say all this that I am in the extreme minority
of member's of the legislature whose kids are in public schools.
(There are only about 10% of us at last count). In fact, both
of my sons (one is now in college) will complete their entire
K-12 education in public schools in Irvine. My interest is absolutely
in improving public education. Those who have controlled the
education establishment for decades would have you believe that
more money for them is all we need. As we have shown, more money
without reform has not done it and will not do it. Give fresh
ideas a chance. CRO