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Tom McClintock

Mr. McClintock is an expert on matters of the State budget and fiscal discipline. He is a Senator in the California State Legislature and ran for Controller on the Republican ticket in 2002. His valuable website is found at

the Shadow Governor
Memo to My Wife
by Tom McClintock 5/29/03

Hi Honey --Since you've let me take over our household finances, I'm happy to report that our family budget is balanced, I've saved thousands of dollars, and I've kept us in the style to which I would like to become accustomed.

You might wonder how I've been able to do all this. I just followed the easy steps that Gov. Gray Davis outlined in his May Budget Revision. I know you're upset because I spent nearly $11,000 more than we took in this year. You really need to keep things in perspective. Gray spent nearly $11 billion more than he took in, and he's not worried. I've taken out a second on our house and Gray's taken out the largest state loan in American history to cover the difference, so just relax.

I'm being fiscally conservative and socially liberal with our budget, just like the Governor. I've cut thousands of dollars from our expenses without affecting our standard of living in the slightest. I know you're skeptical, but it was really very easy. I just added a new jet ski to my wish list and then scratched it out. That saves $5,500. Pretty clever, huh? You can actually do this in any amount - Gray "cut" $5.5 billion from the state budget exactly the same way.

I also saved us $2,100 by not making our December mortgage payment until January, giving us a little extra cash this year. Once again, I can't claim credit - it was Gray's idea. He took $1.2 billion that the state owes to the schools and pushed it one month into the next fiscal year. Then he did essentially the same thing with $930 million in MediCal spending. Presto: another $2.1 billion that he "cut" from the budget. The biggest financial problem our family faces is that the state is about to triple our car tax. I know you'll feel better knowing that Gray is claiming this $4.2 billion tax increase is really - you guessed it - a "cut" in government spending. Overall, taxes will rise an average of $950 per family.

But it's no problem -- we can pay our steadily increasing taxes the same way Gray is paying for his steadily increasing pension obligations. The state owes its main pension system $1.9 billion this year. Instead of paying it, Gray simply took out another credit card. We can make our taxes go away the same way.

Now I need to mention a sore subject - the kid's college funds. I know they've been saving their baby-sitting and lawn mowing money, but these are hard times and everybody needs to sacrifice. So I'm taking $940 from them to balance our checkbook, and I'll promise to pay it back by 2009. Before you get mad, just remember that Gray is doing the same thing with $940 million of the taxes that we've been paying at the gas pump that are supposed to be going into a special fund for our roads. The way I see it, if we've got to watch our highway taxes taken away from our highways, our kids can just suck it up too.

So don't worry about a thing - I've learned a lot about money management from Gray Davis and have everything under control. I imagine that the bill collectors who keep calling may have some questions. Just refer them to the Governor's Department of Finance. I'm sure there's a former Enron accountant there who can explain everything.

Meanwhile, I'm going to go ahead and buy that little boat I've had my eye on. Gray added $2.2 billion to his spending plan since January and after everything I've already saved, I figure I'm entitled.

Thanks for the checkbook, Honey.


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