It’s June, the primary elections are over, there was a change in term limits, so the current crop of Legislators have relatively secure jobs for the next 12 years. The top two primary has come and gone, and it changed some things, but not very much. Now the Legislature has to get back to work. It now has a week to enact a budget. The challenge, there is a deficit.
This is not news. By all accounts, this year’s deficit is small in comparison to say, 2001-02, where there was a $48 billion deficit in the general fund on a $74 billion general fund budget. Or even 2003-04, where there was a $25 billion on a $78 billion general fund budget. The state got through both of those budgets without a tax increase. Heck, a $15 billion deficit on a $110 billion general fund is child’s play. Quite frankly, that kind of budget deficit is almost what we call “budget dust.” It certainly is just leftovers on the lavish table of our current ruling class.
But do not expect them to say that. Expect much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Expect legislative leadership to cry and moan about the difficulties of balancing the budget, and demand that the taxpayers cough up more money. Some Republicans might actually be tempted, in the name of “being responsible,” to join in the chorus.
Give me a break. It would have been more responsible to raise taxes in 2001. We didn’t, and the state survived. It would have more responsible to raise taxes in 2003. We didn’t, and the state survived. In fact, we fought Gray Davis tooth and nail, as he attempted to raise the car tax. The state survived, and went on to increase spending by over 25 percent in the next 4 years (under our austere Governor Schwarzenegger) to create the budget crisis of 2009. That crisis occurred (as did this one) even though taxes were increased.
The Democrats know that only crises can create the climate to take more of your (and my) money. They will spend and spend until you are convinced that it is necessary to raise your taxes to cover their spending. The only thing that restrains that spending is the people rising up and saying no.
Don’t believe me? Go this this address: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/pdf/BudgetSummary/BS_SCH6.pdf. This is Schedule 6 to the Governor’s budget. It shows you how spending has skyrocketed out of control in good years, creating budget crises in slow economic years. In the good years, everyone (including the Republicans) spend like drunken sailors thinking the salad days will last forever. Then a little economic slowdown, and boom, the whole budget collapses. If the ruling class had restrained itself in 1999-2000, or 2005-07, the state would not be in this crisis now.
Of course, that would have required a little political courage, something in short supply in politics.
So we are forced to listen to the wailing and gnashing of teeth of the ruling class, telling us just how “critical” a tax increase is to solve their self created budget problem. Forgive me if I yawn. I have heard it all before, it is all so boring. I will just take a nap until November, vote against the tax increase, or tax increases however many end up on the ballot, and know the state will survive if those increases fail. I have heard it all before. This is not Armageddon, heck, it is not even World War II. It’s just another blip on the radar. The Democrats will kill this state, but not because they don’t get enough taxes. Rather, they will kill this state because they can’t control their spending. Maybe, after the Democrats destroy the state, the voters will wake up, revolt, and elect leaders, Republicans or someone else, who will act like an adult and actually control their impulse to take other people’s money, and spend on preserving their own power.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, the whole state will have to collapse in order for that to occur. It will be painful, but necessary.