Chuck DeVore- Contributor
DeVore represents 450,000 residents of Orange County
70th Assembly District.. He served as a Reagan White House
appointee in the Pentagon from 1986 to 1988 and was Senior
Assistant to Cong. Chris Cox. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Army
National Guard. Chuck’s novel, CHINA
ATTACKS, sells internationally and has been translated
into Chinese for sales in Taiwan. [go to DeVore index]
First and Long Overdue Step
[Chuck DeVore] 1/14/05
those who believe government should run more like a business,
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recently released budget
was a dose of much needed good news.
In many respects, it reads like a business reorganization plan
any new CEO implements to right a struggling company. After
all, even successful companies reorganize at least every two
years to maintain maximum effectiveness and efficiency. Otherwise,
they risk becoming complacent and mediocre and thus going out
Yet California’s last major reorganization probably occurred
90 years ago under Governor Hiram Johnson. With his new budget,
Governor Schwarzenegger has demonstrated he thinks we are long
overdue for common sense reform, and I agree.
Just as Hiram Johnson challenged Sacramento’s entrenched
special interests in the early 1900s, Gov. Schwarzenegger’s
structural reforms throw down the gauntlet to the wasteful special
interests that controlled the state during Gray Davis’ disastrous
five year reign.
“Any time you try to remove one dollar from the budget,
there are five special interests tugging on the other end,” Schwarzenegger
said in his State of the State address. Truer words have rarely
been spoken in Sacramento. No wonder the governor’s budget
plans elicited yelps from the permanent spending lobby. However,
whether the spenders like it or not, change must come.
This is because California’s current budget system largely
operates on auto-pilot. Every dollar of new revenue to the state
generates almost two dollars in spending. Thus raising taxes
does not backfill deficits. Rather, it only accelerates spending,
leaving our budget no more in balance than before. To truly correct
our state’s fiscal woes, we must promote economic growth
while reducing the rate of spending increases.
The governor recognizes this, and his budget proposes a long
term fix to our systemic deficits through fiscal reforms. These
end auto-pilot spending, forcing each agency to justify its use
of tax dollars, each and every year – much like the rest
of us have to do with the family or corporate budget. This common
sense reform ends the problem of ever-increasing spending with
Other reforms slow the spiraling cost of public pensions and
streamline government agencies to promote efficiency. Reforming
how our state conducts its business will undoubtedly be painful
for some. However, the wounds made are as those of a skillful
surgeon who is doing what he must to save the patient.
In spite of the difficult choices facing our state, Governor
Schwarzenegger, to his credit, kept education as a top priority.
His budget boosts per pupil K-12 spending from the current $9,864
to $10,084 with overall education spending increasing by 7.1%.
In return, the governor has suggested that teachers earn their
pay based on merit rather than tenure. This is something most
Californians accept. They understand higher pay comes with better
performance. Sadly, this is a foreign concept for the leadership
in the teachers unions. However, it is an idea whose time has
come. If the governor can muscle this proposal through, it may
very well be the most important government reform proposed in
the past 20 years.
As Gov. Schwarzenegger said during his State of the State, “Now
is a time for choosing.” He has shown the courage to challenge
the spending lobby. The question that remains for us in Sacramento
and you the people is whether those champions of the broken status
quo can be persuaded to go along.
The answer will determine whether California can shed its business
as usual attitude for a business-like attitude. CRO
2005 Chuck DeVore