I guess it should come as no surprise that Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed a massive NINE BILLION DOLLAR borrowing scheme that includes billions for "above ground water storage" (I guess that polls better than calling them "dams"). The Governor LOVES to ask Californians to indebt themselves and future generations. It has become a hallmark of his administrations. Bonds, bonds bonds.
I guess the Governor and his team have done some figuring. They know that Republicans legislators will not support higher taxes. And they know that Democrats will not support any cuts in their state-sponsored social engineering and wealth-redistribution programs. If you can’t get the politicians of today to raise taxes or cut spending on other programs, let’s once again whip out the California credit card. Just when you thought it was maxed out – think again.
First and foremost let’s be clear — California has a water infrastructure problem. That is real, and it needs to be dealt with. However, California government also has an overspending problem that is equally real, and a borrowing addiction that has reached tragic proportions.
The plan that has been introduced by the Governor is, simply put, too large. Billions of dollars of proposed borrowing doesn’t even go towards water storage, but rather into a bunch of enviro-programs that are designed to attract the votes of liberal Democrats to the borrowing, not based on actual needs for California.
In addition, there is no effort here whatsoever to change the way that California does business when it comes to infrastructure. Long gone are the days of Democrat Governor Pat Brown, and outlays of substantial general fund dollars to incrementally deal with our state’s infrastructure needs. The "new" model (which has now gone on for decades) is to use dollars that should be for "mortar and bricks" infrastructure instead on liberal social programs. Then when the need is too great, foist borrowing on the already overburdened taxpayers. Even though taxpayers already send enough to Sacramento to pay for infrastructure, they pay again — as do their children — through borrowing.
We are extremely disappointed that there is no component of the Governor’s plan that calls for reprioritizing billions out of the state general fund for the construction of dams.
We see that Republican State Senator Dave Cogdill is the author of the bill for all of this borrowing, and hope that even he doesn’t support foisting that much debt on our children.
In the end, every time Republicans sign on to more borrowing, we move away from forcing state government to live within its means. The more urgent the issue, such as our state’s water infrastructure needs, the more powerful a tool we have to make the case of how Democrats are completely off-base on where are tax dollars are spent. When Republicans sign off on borrowing, it completely takes the pressure off of the liberals in Sacramento to change the way they do business.
What needs to happen here? Two things… First, the billions of dollars in proposed non-dam spending need to be stripped from the Governor’s proposal. Second, there needs to be a significant portion of the resources that pay for reservoir construction coming not from the sale of bonds, but from a reallocation of state funds to this important priority.
Former Assembly Republican Leader (now Congressman) Kevin McCarthy used his position as a bully pulpit for pay-as-you-go spending on infrastructure. While his successor’s successor, Mike Villines, is on the right track with this legislation to reprioritize current authorized bond funds into actual real water-related needs, now would be a time for him to rally his caucus for ‘living within our means’ as a state government. It’s a safe bet that there would be support from their GOP colleagues in the State Senate. Without a change in the ‘spending paradigm’ where general fund dollars are not spent on infrastructure (except to service bond debt), there should not be GOP votes to put ANY more bonds on the ballot. Period.
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