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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]

Wailing And Gnashing Of Teeth
Budget reality strikes…

[Ray Haynes] 1/25/05

The Governor released his budget last week. It was a responsible budget, one that recognized the limitations of the state, given the budget problems created by Gray Davis, and his budget is the next step in resolving the state’s long-term fiscal problems.

Total state spending increased in the Governor’s budget by 4.2 per cent, from $82.2 billion this year to $85.5 billion next year. The state’s economy is recovering, so revenue is increasing as well, from $78.2 billion to $83.8 billion. Three years ago, the state spent over $10 billion more than it took in, that number is now down to $1.7 billion. If current growth figures hold, by May, the revenue and expenditure numbers should equal (if the Democrats don’t increase the spending numbers).

In the 1998-99 budget year, the last Pete Wilson budget, general fund spending in California was $57.8 billion (with general fund revenues at $58.6 billion. Spending rose from $57.8 billion to $78 billion in two budget cycles, (budget years 99-00 and 00-01). If the state had simply grown its government taking into account inflation and population growth during this time, it would have a surplus today. Instead, the state increased spending by $20 billion, and created a deficit in the 01-02 budget year. That year, the state overspent revenues by $11 billion. When Governor Davis borrowed the money to cover that shortfall, he created the debt that still plagues us today.

Interestingly enough, the Governor’s budget denies no one anything. The loudest wailing and gnashing of teeth, however, is coming from the teacher’s union who claims that the Governor cut the education budget. That is patently false. The education budget increases in 05-06 by $2.9 billion, a 7.1 percent increase. Their claim is based on the fact that they believe they are entitled to $3.7 billion (plus an additional $1.2 billion for what is termed “settle up” obligations from previous years). The only reason they think they are entitled to this money is that in the 1999-2000 and 01-02 fiscal years, the state spent more money on schools than the law called for. If the state had only spent in the fat years what the law demands, the Governor’s budget in these tough times would be in line with the legal requirements.

But the adults who make money off the education system are without shame. At a time when their performance is at a record low (witness the miserable test scores in California), they are demanding a raise. They are ungrateful for the bounty they got in the good years (even though their performance after the substantial raises did not improve), and demand everyone else sacrifice in the lean years.

What few people know, and the teacher’s union never mentions, is that per pupil spending in the 1998-99 budget year was $5,751. In the 2004-05 budget year it was $7,012. In the current budget it will increase to $7,374, over a 5% increase per child.

Just for the record, I’ve laid out the numbers from the Legislative Analyst’s Office showing the amount of money that has been spent on education from our general fund plus local property tax revenue:

1998-99 -- $35.6 billion
1990-00 -- $39.5 billion An increase of 10.9%
2000-01 -- $42.9 billion An increase of 8.6%
2001-02 -- $43.2 billion An increase of 0.7%
2002-03 -- $43.9 billion An increase of 1.6%
2003-04 -- $46.2 billion An increase of 5.2%
2004-05 -- $47.3 billion An increase of 1.9%
2005-06 -- $50.9 billion An increase of 7.6%

Even if you take out the local property taxes included the numbers above, the increase from the state general fund is 7.1 percent (2004-05 general fund was $34.1 billion, and the 2005-06 general fund expenditure is $36.53 billion). They ought to be pleased that they got such an increase when everyone else only got a 3 percent increase.

The Governor is proposing a budget that tries to recognize the reality of Sacramento, and still be responsible. The reality is that there are a lot of people who make a great deal of money off of government, and don’t want to give up their share of the tax booty. Those people are ably represented by the Democrats in the Legislature. The Governor can’t reduce your tax burden since the Democrats control the Legislature, but at least he can try to hold it steady. Those who make money off of government aren’t satisfied with maintaining the status quo; they want more of your money. The next six months will determine if they and their Democrat lackeys win, or if the Governor wins. If they win, your taxes will have to go up to cover the eventual financial morass which will befall us. If the Governor wins, you might just be able to keep your money. CRO


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