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 www.tommclintock.com
Advice for the Governor's State of the State...
[Tom McClintock] 1/6/04
Governor Schwarzenegger's State of the State address ought to begin with
than a year ago, the Legislature and the former governor passed
budget knowing it was billions of dollars out of balance.
They approved runaway government spending and red ink as far
as the eye could see. A year ago, if they had made a fraction
of the cuts I proposed in this budget, we would not be in this
mess today ... [This is] the first honestly balanced budget in
two decades -- without fancy accounting gimmicks, without taking
away people's health care or abandoning our public schools and,
as promised, without a tax increase."
The words aren't original. Democratic Gov. James Doyle of Wisconsin
spoke them last July as he signed his state's 2003 budget act.
But they would serve as a powerful reminder that California's
budget crisis is far from hopeless -- if the governor stands
Indeed, a 13.4 percent reduction in the overall rate of spending,
if made immediately, would completely cure California's deficit
without tax increases or borrowing by the end of the 2004 budget
year, and still annual spending would be 15 percent more than
it was the day Gray Davis became governor. The 2005 budget could
then begin with $12 billion of breathing room.
To accomplish this, California's governor must have the authority
to make mid-year spending reductions -- something Gray Davis
unsuccessfully sought last year. It's hardly a radical notion:
California's governor had precisely this authority from 1939
until 1983 -- and it worked.
And if accompanied by four simple reforms, the spending reductions
would not require cutting vital services.
First, we must restore to our government the same freedom every
family exercises every day of the year: to shop around for the
best service at the lowest price. California government is denied
that freedom -- forcing it to rely on its outrageously expensive
bureaucracies. Contracting out state services would save $9 billion
annually, and in most cases actually improve the quality of services.
is notorious for its overlapping and superannuated bureaucracies.
The "Bureaucracy Reduction and Closure Commission," modeled
on the successful federal military Base Realignment and Closure
Commission, passed the state Senate last year with broad bipartisan
support, but is now stalled in the Assembly. The governor should
demand its immediate passage -- or else organize it himself under
his own executive authority.
Third, California taxpayers shell out $4 billion annually for
services to illegal immigrants. Ten years ago, the people forbade
these expenditures through Proposition 187 -- but Davis refused
to defend it in court. Governor Schwarzenegger ought to announce
that he is signing an executive order directing all departments
to report all immigration violations they encounter to the Immigration
and Naturalization Service.
Fourth, California's workers compensation system is collapsing
while across the state line Arizona operates its system at one-third
the cost. California should adopt Arizona's system, resulting
in direct savings of $2.4 billion to state and local governments.
Finally, the governor should announce that he is beginning a
signature drive today to place the measures that require legislative
action on the ballot and that he will call a special election
the moment they're qualified. Legislators would have only that
long to adopt these reforms or explain to voters why they failed
wouldn't be in the spirit of "bipartisan compromise" that
many pundits are suggesting. But it ought to be remembered that
it was precisely many years of "bipartisan compromise" that
got California into its mess. Now is the time for uncompromising