Budget Out Of Control
California on a union-led course to bankruptcy…
[Ray Haynes] 4/24/06
I have refrained
from commenting on California’s budget because it is
still uncertain exactly what is going to happen in this year’s budget
debate. This, however, is what we know up to this point in time.
the Legislature approved, and the Governor signed, a budget
that increased state spending by $11 billion.
employee unions complained that it wasn’t enough.
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]
This year, the Governor proposed a budget that increased spending
by an additional $7 billion.
The government employee unions are complaining that it is not
budget spends $6 billion more than projected revenue.
employee unions complain that it isn’t
In 1999, then-Governor Gray Davis proposed increasing spending
by $9 billion. That was the largest spending increase in the
history of the state of California, until 2000, when Gray Davis
increased spending by $12 billion.
Last year’s spending increase was the second largest
in California’s history. This year’s proposed increase
is the same as the one in Davis’ first term. Unfortunately,
Governor Schwarzenegger looks like he is making the same mistakes
as Gray Davis. The only problem with his strategy is that if
the budget collapses like it did during the Davis years, then
the resulting budget deficit will be the Republican’s fault.
In 1999-2001, Republicans could rightfully complain that the
state’s budget woes were entirely Democrat’s fault.
If Schwarzenegger’s plan is fully implemented, Republicans
will lose that argument. Schwarzenegger’s spending plan
is at least as bad as the spending plans proposed by Gray Davis,
and, in my opinion, will lead to the same bad outcome if the
economy should slow down (as it inevitably will).
The good news is that the Assembly Republicans have decided
to say no to Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger said he wants to
spend $7 billion more than the state receives in revenue. The
Assembly Republicans said no, the state should only spend what
it takes in.
Schwarzenegger said he wants to expand government as fast as
Gray Davis. The Assembly Republicans said no, they want to slow
down the growth of government.
budget did not resolve the state’s
debt issues, particularly the $15 billion debt that Gray Davis
created. The Assembly Republicans said they want to make sure
that debt is paid, before we spend another dime in new state
budget does not seek to resolve the growing government pension
problem. The state’s Legislative
Analyst Office recently reported that the state is facing a
$40 to $70
billion problem because it has not funded state retiree health
benefits adequately. According to the LAO, it will take $6 billion
a year to adequately fund these former state employee benefits.
Assembly Republicans say the state budget must resolve this impending
news is that when the state goes bankrupt, I won’t
be in the Legislature. The bad news is that the state will go
bankrupt if it continues to follow this course. But if the Governor
listens to Assembly Republicans, he will avoid bankruptcy. The
government employee unions will continue to complain. Who will
the Governor listen to, Assembly Republicans or the unions? Only
time will tell.-CRO-
Haynes is a California Assemblyman representing Riverside
and Temecula and freuent contributor to CaliforniaRepublic.org.