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]
Bunch Of Drunken Sailors
Legislature’s Democrats on a spending spree…
I guess they
just can’t help themselves. They certainly don’t
learn from history.
I am talking,
of course, of the Legislative majority. This year’s budget
is a disaster in the making. I hope I am wrong, and the disaster
never occurs, but certainly the seeds
for a future disaster have been planted, and the current Legislative
majority is responsible. They are spending money like a bunch
of drunken sailors, again.
to the Legislative Analyst Office (September 22, 2004), last
budget (the 2004-05 spending plan) authorized $78.7 billion
in general fund spending. That was an increase
over the 2003-04 budget of about $600 million, the smallest spending
increase in the history of the state, and a great start for Governor
Schwarzenegger, especially after his March victory for the deficit
reduction bond and balanced budget amendment. It was so good
I even voted for it, my first vote in favor of a budget in my
legislative career. In one year, Governor Schwarzenegger had
reduced a $30 - $50 billion budget problem, and turned it into
a $10 billion deficit, a good thing.
This year’s budget process began with a lot of promise.
As the economy got stronger, the deficit problem would go away
if the Legislature exercised a level of spending restraint. The
Governor’s January budget was the model of restraint, with
minimal increases in spending, realistic revenue projections,
and solid budget priorities. It looked like the state would pull
out of its problems all together.
Then it happened.
whose spending sprees in the budgets between 1999 and 2001
cost Gray Davis his job, got a hold of the Governor’s
January budget. Then the spending lobby, the thousands of adults
who make money off of government, began an advertising blitz
to hurt the Governor’s image. Finally, the bureaucracy
got their mitts on the increased revenue.
thing you know, state government spending is out of control
the 1999-2000 budget, state government saw
a 14% increase in general fund spending, from $57 billion to
$66 billion. That budget was the first of the Davis budget debacles
that ultimately resulted in the deficits of the last three years.
In my article, “Projects of Regional Concern (PORC)” written
in May of 2000, I wrote that this was the beginning of the next
budget mess. By May of 2001, it was evident to any who would
look that the budget was on the brink of collapse. I wrote “The
Perfect Budget Storm” in May of 2001, and said just that.
Within 6 months, the budget collapsed.
We are in
the same place today as we were in 1999-2000. This year’s budget increased spending from $78.7 billion to
$90.14 billion, a 14% increase. Now some will say that last year’s
budget really didn’t spend $78.7 billion, it really spent
$80.7 billion or $81.7 billion. It doesn’t matter—it
is still a 10% increase. The fact is that this budget took nearly
every dime of new money that came in, and spent it on bigger
government. We are sowing the seeds of the next budget disaster.
of the liberals in Sacramento think we didn’t
spend enough. They complained about how we were punishing the
poor and the school children. They sounded an awful lot like
they did in 1999-2000, when they planted the seeds that cost
Gray Davis his job. They are acting like drunken sailors again.
I hope I
am wrong. My Democrats friends think I am just crying wolf.
last time I cried “wolf” at a budget
crisis, a whole pack of wolves showed up (in fact, a few of them
are still around), and a Governor lost his job because he didn’t
listen. Unfortunately, it looks to me as if we are making the
same mistakes as we did in the 1999-2001 budget years. Only time
will tell. CRO
Haynes is a California Assembleyman representing Riverside
and Temecula and frequent contributor to CaliforniaRepublic.org.