In a whirlwind of activity recently, the California State Assembly completed committee work on hundreds of bills. The state is not better for this effort. I serve on both the Budget and Appropriations Committees, and both met not long ago to address financial legislation before moving it to the floor of the Assembly. It is hard to decide which committee did the most damage to California.
The various budget subcommittees three weeks ago authorized nearly half a billion dollars in new spending. Half a billion dollars in new spending for a near bankrupt state! The Governor’s May revise reported a bit more than $6.5 billion in unanticipated revenue, and it is already burning a hole in the pocket of Democrats on the Budget Committee. Some of the spending decisions are particularly ridiculous.
For example, the Governor proposed eliminating the Commission on the Status of Women. This is one of those expensive, do-nothing but feel good about yourself while not doing it, commissions that liberals love. To his credit, the Governor proposed zeroing it out of existence. At the hearing, witnesses in response to my questioning testified that private organizations such as NOW and the American Association of University Women allegedly promoting so-called “women’s issues” are declining in membership and financial strength. Incredibly, though, because Democrats routinely ignore clear messages from the market saying this sort of thing is unnecessary, those declines were a reason for the government to increase support for the commission. Now, reasonable people just might believe this is exactly backward at a time when:
1. more than a quarter of the members of the California legislature are women;
2. well over half of college students are women;
3. both California Senators are women;
4. women were major party candidates for governor and Vice-President of the United States in the last election cycle; and,
5. Oh yes, did I mention we’re a near bankrupt state?
Yet the Democrats on the subcommittee would not support their own Democratic Governor in eliminating the Commission on the Status of Women. Amazing. They just are not serious about solving our fiscal problems.
Over in the Appropriations Committee, where I also serve, things went no better for the State of California. A number of stunningly bad bills made their way out of the Committee, and most then got passed off the floor of the Assembly. I am not optimistic that they will die their much deserved deaths at their next stop – the Senate, where Democrats also hold an overwhelming numerical advantage. No, most of this bad legislation will eventually land on the Governor’s desk.
There is an old saying about Nero fiddling while Rome burns. It certainly seems with some of this legislation as if Sacramento fiddles while the State burns. And with some of it, Sacramento fans the flames while the ruling Democrats dance around California’s funeral pyre.