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Ray Haynes

Mr. 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][go to Haynes index]

I’ve Got Your “Plan B” Right Here
Translation: tax, spend, tax, spend...
[Ray Haynes] 2/10/04

This week, my Democrat friends in the legislature held an informational hearing on the budget. The highlight of that hearing was a request to the Governor’s staff for an alternative to the Governor’s budget in case the bond proposed by the Governor for the March 2nd ballot fails. One member exclaimed “I want to be prepared” for the “[economic] earthquake” that will occur if the bond fails.

Let’s leave aside the most obvious comments about the Democrats being in charge for the last five years, creating this “economic earthquake” at the state level, and then insisting that Governor Schwarzenegger (in less than 90 days) come up with endless scenarios to solve it. Let’s also leave aside the fact that their “Plan B” is a massive tax increase on you and me, since by their definition, anyone who “has a job” is rich. Those hits are too obvious, and too easy.

The first problem with their position is that they spent the whole hearing demanding more spending in every area of the budget. It was a tag team match on the Governor’s staff unlike any I have seen in a long time. First, one Democrat asks why the Governor doesn’t spend more money on transportation. “Transportation is essential to a strong economy. Our freeways are crowded.” True—except that when they were in charge, they spent their money on commuter trains and buses that nobody rides. It’s a little disingenuous now to complain about bad freeways.

The next Democrat would then step into the ring and complain that the Governor is not spending enough on Higher Education. “Higher Education is the key to a strong economy.” Tag the next Democrat—“Why aren’t you spending more on health care? Healthy children and families are important to a strong economy.” Tag—“We need more money for the environment. Money spent on the environment grows the economy.”

In fact—to hear the lefties in the legislature tell it—all government spending is essential to economic growth. That, of course, is why, after 5 years of the fastest growth in government in California history, our economy is falling apart. Our economy was stronger when we cut taxes, and our government was growing enough to generate $12 billion surpluses.

I give the Democrats one thing—at least they are finally concerned about the economy. But after two years of complaining, they have done essentially nothing about the rising costs of workers’ compensation insurance. But they are concerned. They said so!

Well—I have a “Plan B” for the Governor to consider if the bond fails. Tell the Democrats you won’t sign a budget unless it cuts state government by $15 billion, and let them figure out how to do the cuts. They haven’t proposed a budget plan in the entire 12 years I have been in the legislature. All they have ever done is complain about the Governor’s budget, saying that the Governor (whether it was Wilson, Davis, or now Schwarzenegger) doesn’t spend enough money on this program or that. If they choose not to propose the cuts themselves, you should take their budget, and use your line-item veto to get the $15 billion you need.

I know that is difficult. I know all sorts of people will complain. In the end, however, if you cut $15 billion from the budget, that budget will be the same size as it was in 1999-2000. We had a $7 billion surplus that year; our economy was buzzing right along. Nobody was ignorant or dying in the streets. Things weren’t all that bad. We would survive. Some of the special interest groups that have gotten rich on the backs of the taxpayers might not, but isn’t that why we elected you in the first place?


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