The answer is not just to borrow…
[Ray Haynes] 1/16/06
I have been
on a Governor-bashing binge lately, so I thought I would change
focus. Not that there is no reason to criticize the Governor,
there is. He has proposed a $222 billion bond package and a
budget that spends $7 billion more than it takes in. For the
fellow that got elected promising to sweep out the spending
addicts in Sacramento, it seems he has tasted the spending
high, and likes it a little too much. Maybe not yet an addict,
but he is certainly starting to chase the dragon.
said, the Governor deserves credit for once again taking on
a large challenge, even if the strategy is a little flawed.
Everyone in this state knows that California has some significant
challenges. Our freeways are congested, our schools are overcrowded,
we are running out of water, electricity, and gasoline, and
we are overrun with people who make too much money by doing
absolutely nothing about these problems. By issuing the challenge
to build our roads, schools, courts and waterways, the Governor
has chosen an ambitious agenda to relieve some level of suffering
each of us currently has to endure everyday. That is a good
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]
is the method in which he proposes financing the effort. There
is no question that the Democrat-controlled Legislature has
done everything in its power over the last 30 years to stifle
this state. In 1974, when Jerry Brown was elected Governor,
he pronounced his agenda, which was basically – if we
don’t build it, they won’t come. So, we stopped
building in this state, but the people still kept coming.
to 1974, this state built a magnificent freeway system, a water
collection and distribution system without rival in the world,
a world-class university system, and the best K-12 education
system in the entire country. Yet, in 1974, the state’s
total general fund budget was $8.6 billion. The state was spending
$394 per person, and about $6 for every one hundred dollars
of income. Today, the state’s general fund budget is
$98 billion; the state is spending $2,609 per person, and nearly
$7 for every one hundred dollars of income. With all of that,
we can’t seem to find the money to build roads and schools.
is not just to borrow. There is no doubt that the state needs
to recommit to rebuilding its facilities, but the plan to do
so must be comprehensive, and it must follow the following
- The money
borrowed must actually be spent on public facilities, not
studies. We spend millions of dollars every year on government
employees who study, plan, and write reports about building
freeways, but never really get around to building them. The
money spent must be for bulldozers and asphalt, not killing
trees for reports.
project for which we borrow money must be completed in 10
years or less. Today, it takes 23 years to build a freeway.
Of that 20 years is wasted doing studies, having meetings
and writing reports to appease the regulatory bureaucrats.
That is simply too long and costly to get the relief we need.
- The plan
must include some form of pay-as-you-go money. Two years
ago, this state was spending $78 billion general funds. Today,
the proposal is to spend $98 billion. The state could take
half of that money for roads and school buildings, and still
have ten percent more money for state services than it did
two years ago. Indeed, $10 billion a year for the next twenty
years would build as much as the Governor’s proposal,
may be necessary, but not $222 billion. Some increase in government
is inevitable, but not $20 billion worth in two years. Our
roads and school buildings deserve our attention, but not at
the expense of our children and grandchildren, who will be
forced to pay this debt. The principles listed above would
solve those problems. The Governor should give them serious
Haynes is a California Assembleyman representing Riverside
and Temecula and frequent contributor to CaliforniaRepublic.org.