Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and
He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to
Assembly Member Haynes
website at California Assembly][go to Haynes index]
“Blow Up” Baseline
tax-and-spenders hate common sense budgeting...
When the governor
came out with his May Revise budget this year, you could hear
a very loud “Darn it” from the
Democrat majority in the Legislature. They spent the whole first
half of the legislative year trying to convince anyone who would
listen that the Governor would raise taxes. He didn’t,
and, boy were they mad.
Now they have taken
to saying he will raise taxes next year. He hasn’t solved the “structural deficit” (which
they created in the five years that Gray Davis was Governor),
so obviously, they say, he is going to raise taxes next year.
It just wasn’t politically tenable this year. Just wait—they
say—he’ll do it. He has to. There is no other way.
Of course, the Governor’s May revise doesn’t solve
the “structural” deficit. The structural deficit,
simply stated, is the deficit created because all of our government
programs are on autopilot, that is, they continue to grow year
after year without restraint. Democrats don’t want to stop
the growth of government, so the Governor is forced to use his
power to simply slow it down. So—he balances the budget
this year, balances it next year, and then just waits for the
economy to grow to catch up to the Government growth.
In the meantime,
the Democrats and their lackeys in the press beat up on the
Governor for “not solving the budget mess” as
he promised. They created the mess, and now they complain that
he is not fixing it? How disingenuous is that? This problem was
not created in one year; it will not be fixed in one year. The
Democrats know, however, that they have no chance to keep their
majority this year unless they put a few chinks in the Governor’s
armor. So—they attack him for not cleaning up their bedroom
But wait, the Governor
has begun a process that could completely revamp how state
government does business, the California Performance
Review (CPR) process. If the Governor is actually successful
in”blowing up the boxes” of state government, it
will be through CPR. Right now, bureaucrats, experts, citizens,
and thinkers are getting together to look at how the state conducts
its business, and trying to figure out how to do it better. Under
discussion is the consolidation and even the elimination of entire
agencies and commissions.
under consideration is a new way of doing the state budget.
Right now, the state uses the “baseline” budget
method to draw up its yearly budget. Simply stated, a baseline
budget takes last year’s budget, adds inflation and “caseload” growth,
and sets that number as the baseline. The baseline budget is
always bigger than last year’s budget. Any action that
reduces the baseline is called a cut, even if the final number
adopted in a program is bigger than the budget the year before.
his Finance Director, Donna Arduin, know this for the deception
it is, and are trying to change it, with
what is call a “zero-base budget.” A zero-base budget
assumes that each government program starts at zero, and makes
the people who run the program justify how they spent all of
their money. This one change could undo years of waste and abuse,
and it is now on the table.
The bureaucrats don’t like changing the way they do business.
They don’t like to have to justify their work product.
The Governor, however, has the right idea. Make them work; make
them justify their expenditures. Waste and abuse will disappear
with this one simple change.
Meanwhile, the Democrats
just keep praying for tax increases, and defending the status
quo. It ain’t goin’ to happen.
I have introduced
this common-sense budgeting reform as legislation almost every
session I’ve served in the legislature. Now,
with the Governor’s support, we finally have a chance to
get it passed and start looking at every program with a more
critical eye. It is time to put the bureaucrats and program administrators
on the defensive instead of the taxpayer. CRO