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Groundhog Day, Part Deux
California’s liberal legislature never learns, never learns…

[Ray Haynes] 2/20/06

In the movie, Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character wakes up to the same refrain from the song “I got you, babe” every morning, and that is how he knows he is stuck in the same place on the same day, day after day, throughout the movie.

I don’t think I am stuck in that movie, but I keep hearing the same refrain day after day, week after week, year after year, from the Democrats in Sacramento. This last week was no exception.


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]

In 1998, then Governor Pete Wilson proposed a $58.6 billion general fund budget. Between 1999 and 2001, the state experienced record surpluses, and then Governor Gray Davis spent all of those surpluses and then some, increasing spending $20 billion in those two short years. It took Pete Wilson 8 years to increase spending by $17 billion. But it only took Gray Davis two years to increase it by $20 billion. From the day Pete Wilson took office to the day he left, the Democrats in the Legislature demanded tax increases, whether there were deficits or surpluses. From the day Gray Davis took office, Democrats demanded tax increases, whether the state faced a surplus or a deficit. The record increase in spending in the early Davis years eventually led to his recall, which resulted from the record deficits he and the Legislative Democrats created between 1999 and 2001.

When Governor Schwarzenegger took office following the recall, the Democrats were hopeful. They woke up to “I got you babe” and, thinking they were back with Gray Davis again, asked for tax increases again. Schwarzenegger got spending under control in his first budget, proposing a $76.1 billion budget, only a $100 million increase in spending over the year before, which was the smallest increase in government spending in recent memory. Eventually, the Legislature passed a $76.8 billion budget, and, once again, the Democrats called for a tax increase.

This year, the Governor proposed a $98 billion budget, a $22 billion spending increase, once again, in two short years. When I woke up on January 10, the day the Governor proposed his budget, I could have swore I heard “I got you babe” again. A Governor proposing record spending increases, in fact, spending $5 billion more than the state believes it will take in, and the Democrats saying it is not enough, and that they need more taxes.

Well, here is the refrain. With term limits, I think I can honestly say that some of these Legislators are young, and they don’t understand the repercussions of their decisions, but they’ll find out when they grow. This budget is going to collapse, babe. In one, maybe two, maybe three years, this budget will be $20 - $30 billion out of balance.

Until that time, however, the state is once again experiencing enormous increases in revenue, and the Governor and the Legislature are spending those revenues as if there was an unending supply of money, and the Democrats are still calling for tax increases, because, despite the record revenues, they still don’t have enough money. In a press conference last week, the Democrat leaders, Speaker Fabian Nunez and President Pro Tem Don Perata keep complaining that the Governor’s budget did not reflect their priorities, and that they were going to increase spending. When the press noted that the expenditures in the budget were already $4 billion above projected revenue, the reporters rightfully asked if the Democrats were going to ask for new taxes to cover the increased spending. Nunez and Perata dodged the question, but made it clear that tax increases would probably be necessary.

So, like Bill Murray, I turned over and smashed the clock, so I wouldn’t have to hear that stupid song again. Unfortunately, like Bill Murray, it was still the same day, same tune, just different people. -CRO-

FYI - Ray Hayne’s previous Ground Hog Day

Mr. Haynes is a California Assembleyman representing Riverside and Temecula and frequent contributor to


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