national opinion

Monday Column
Carol Platt Liebau

[go to Liebau index]

Latest Column:
Stopping the Meltdown
What Beltway Republicans Need To Do

Subscribe to CRO Alerts
Sign up for a weekly notice of CRO content updates.

Jon Fleischman’s
The premier source for
California political news

Michael Ramirez

editorial cartoon

Do your part to do right by our troops.
They did the right thing for you.
Donate Today

CRO Talk Radio
Contributor Sites
Laura Ingraham

Hugh Hewitt
Eric Hogue
Sharon Hughes
Frank Pastore
[Radio Home]

















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]

California: The Conservative State
Voters want fiscal discipline...
[Ray Haynes] 3/9/04

Despite stereotypes to the contrary, once again, Californians have shown their conservatism. When given the ability to choose sides on controversial political issues in the form of ballot initiatives, Californians have repeatedly supported the more conservative side of nearly every issue except school vouchers and bonds. Three Strikes, juvenile justice reform, immigration, affirmative action, gay marriage (resolving the issue once and for all, remember?) and taxpayer protection have all won significant majorities in California’s statewide elections in the last decade. In this past week’s election, Californians did it again.

Despite an election in which a higher percentage of Democrats turned out than Republicans, and in which 700,000 more Democrats cast votes than Republicans, the two most conservative positions on the propositions received the highest number of votes. The proposition that required legislators to pass balanced budgets and to stop borrowing money to feed their spending habits received the highest number of votes in the election. The second highest number of votes came in opposition to the efforts to make it easier to raise taxes in Sacramento, despite an incredibly misleading campaign in favor of the initiative that tried to spin it as a conservative measure.

Most popular was Proposition 58, the Balanced Budget initiative. It passed overwhelmingly statewide, without a single county in opposition. Two-thirds of the state’s voters took the traditionally more conservative position that spending should not exceed revenues. This was not as strong an initiative as my Republican colleagues and I had hoped to place on the ballot. Originally we had supported not only a balanced budget requirement, but also an outright spending cap. Unfortunately, we could not gain the necessary support of the Democrats in Sacramento to place it on the ballot and let the people decide. I think the results from Proposition 58 show that the majority party was right to fear a vote of the people on that issue, because I predict that an actual spending cap initiative would have passed easily, too. Perhaps we’ll get another shot at that in the future.

The next highest vote total in the election came in opposition to efforts by government employee unions and liberal interest groups to make it easier to raise taxes. In the end, two-thirds of the state’s voters chose to retain the two-thirds requirement to raise taxes, instead of lowering it to a simple majority. In fact, of the 58 counties, only one voted in favor of this measure (San Francisco, of course)! Despite a misleading campaign that used conservative buzzwords like “budget accountability” and “punishing legislators,” and avoided mention of making it easier to raise taxes entirely, the people saw right through it and crushed the proposal at the polls. How misleading were their ads? Besides not mentioning the part about tax increases being easier, their most popular ad showed legislators having a food fight on the Capitol floor---and you only need a brief look around the legislature to figure out that there aren’t too many of us lawmakers up there likely to do anything with food but eat it!

What does this mean going forward this year? I believe it means that the people of this state want us to get our spending under control and do not want us to use new and higher taxes to do it. I think the statewide vote gives tremendous support to the Republican Caucus position that we need to eliminate fraud, waste, and unnecessary and duplicative programs in Sacramento, and enact serious structural reform that will reduce costs and balance the budget. Serious cuts are necessary, and we need to have the backbone to stand up to the various spending lobbies who come to all the budget meetings. The support of the voters should stiffen our resolve to support our Governor and refuse Democrat attempts to balance this year’s budget on the backs of taxpayers.

Voter support also strengthens our hand on other issues, like workers’ compensation reform. If the legislature will not enact real reform quickly, Republicans will put reform on the ballot in November. I believe the results of this election and many of the elections prior to this show that when our state’s voters are given a choice between higher costs and more regulation, or lower costs and a more business-friendly environment, they side with the conservatives. Even though gerrymandering has made a more conservative legislature difficult to achieve, I believe the people are on our side, and I’m willing to take our policies to the ballot to prove it. CRO


Blue Collar -  120x90
120x90 Jan 06 Brand
Free Trial Static 02
ActionGear 120*60
Free Trial Static 01
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2003-2005