Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and Temecula.
He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to
Assembly Member Haynes
website at California Assembly]
Budget-speak is budget deceit.
I have to
admit it took me five years on the budget committee to really
understand the budget process. One of the key reasons for this
extended learning period was budget language. It was a little
like going to see a foreign movie that doesn’t have subtitles.
You think you know what’s going on but you miss some major
plot lines along the way. You see, those in government responsible
for formulating the budget don’t speak English. Yes, I agree
that the noises that come out of their mouth sound like English,
but the true meanings do not coincide with words found in any
dictionary. The purpose of budget-speak is budget deceit. They
want you to think they mean one thing, when they really mean another.
a normal person says they “cut something” out of their
budget, they mean they reduced or eliminated it. In budget-speak,
it means they didn’t get what they wanted. Gray Davis recently
announced he “cut” 10,000 jobs out of state government
last year. But if you look at the numbers, the state had 322,227
approved state positions last year, and 327,554 this year. Next
year, they anticipate having 325,134. Now—I’m no math
genius, but 3000 more jobs is not equal to 10,000 fewer jobs,
even in the new, new, new math. They are equal, however, in budget-speak.
It works like this, they wanted 13,000 more jobs, they only got
3,000, so they “cut” 10,000 jobs.
With that in mind, it is important to understand the language
of the budget wonks, so you can understand what their words mean:
(1) Tax cuts—they don’t exist. In
budget-speak it is called an increase in government spending.
If they have it and have to give it back, it is an ‘expenditure.’
This type of ‘expenditure’ must be absolutely controlled.
If you read their press releases, you know people die when such
expenditures are undertaken, so these reductions must be avoided
at all costs.
(2) Spending Increases—these do not exist
either. In budget-speak, they are program expansions, eligibility
expansions, or necessary expansions because of the expanded workloads.
(3) Program Needs—Once a government program
is created, it has needs: needs for money, needs for employees,
needs for clients to use the program to justify the expenditure.
These needs grow every year, regardless of the effectiveness of
the program. Any proposed reduction in spending for a program
is met with horror and outrage, because once again people will
die if you cut it.
(4) Essential Government Services—Anything
that the government decided to do that you must pay for. For instance,
if some politician decides you may be evil because you own a business
making a profit. He puts in a law to monitor or restrict your
evil deeds (making a profit), and requires you to get a government
permit to continue performing those evil deeds (thus making less
profit). The granting of that permit is a government service which
costs you money and requires a bureaucracy, which must be fed
with revenue enhancements.
(5) Spending Reductions—these can never
happen. This is a violation of the first commandment of government.
Children, old people, young people, middle class families, women
and minorities die when any government spending is actually reduced.
(6) Tax Revenue—every dollar you earn at
your job. If the government does not take that dollar as revenue,
and lets you keep it, it is called a tax expenditure.
(7) Tax Expenditure—see tax cut.
(8) Baseline Budget—everything the government
got from you last year, plus the new spending it wants from you
this year. Anything less than that is a ‘cut.’
(9) Revenue Enhancement—the most beautiful
words in budget-speak. The more of your money that they can take,
the better. That is why they like these words so much.
(10) Program Requirements—everything the
government did last year, plus everything it wants to do next
year (see program needs and baseline budget). If an agency designed
to serve the needy is running out of needy persons to serve, more
money for marketing to find new needy persons will become a program
(11) Spending Caps—can never happen (see
spending reductions). People die from these too.
(12) Truth in Budgeting—(which would have
actually been mandated in my bill AB 318, currently languishing
in committee) this can never happen, because if it did, the revolution
would start tomorrow. People would see how the politicians have
deceived them in Sacramento.
Now that you have this budget-speak – English translator,
you can go back to watching the budget show in Sacramento, secure
in the knowledge that you know what is really