Yesterday, Sacramento Democrats finally passed the remaining so-called “trailer bills” to complete the work on their majority vote budget plan. The more we let the sunshine in on the Democrat majority vote budget, the worse it looks for the priorities of California’s hard-working families. In my view, Californians deserve better than a phony budget that was made up by Democrats as they went along in the process, violating the spirit of openness and transparency in state government that should be the guiding principle of every lawmaker.
Here are just a few of the worst features of the Democrat majority vote budget passed yesterday:
Plays Politics to Boost Governor’s Massive Tax Increase
To try and boost the passage of Governor Brown’s $8.5 billion tax increase measure, Democrats voted in their majority vote budget plan to manipulate the elections process. They passed a measure to move the Governor’s tax initiative up to the top of the ballot, even though his initiative qualified tenth among the measures that will appear on the November 2012 ballot. At the same time, the Governor’s education trigger cuts would still be pulled, even if a competing tax measure supported by Molly Munger passes.
Expands Dangerous Public Safety Realignment Scheme
The Democrat public safety realignment law enacted last year has put excessive stress on many of our state’s already struggling local jails and sheriffs’ departments. I invite you to visit our California Crime Watch website to learn about examples of inmates being granted early release because of jail overcrowding committing another crime upon release.
Democrats passed yet another “fix to realignment,” which will do nothing but make the problem worse and lead to more criminals being set free. These changes, which would water down inmate accountability and pave the way for more early release of dangerous criminals, will actually make the serious problems with realignment much worse.
Education Hit With $5.9 Billion in Cuts, Yet More Giveaways to Public Employee Unions
I am very troubled that the majority party’s budget priorities include giving a win to California’s public employee unions. Public employee unions have been fighting tooth and nail against the state contracting out with private firms and their budget would prevent the University of California from doing so. Instead of making sure that the best service is provided at the best price, the budget includes language that limits choice.
It further reduces the state’s ability to achieve savings by using lower cost vendors for information technology and personal services, such as janitorial and security. These outside contracts will be replaced with an effort to expand the full-time public employee workforce. Public employee union bosses are not interested in sharing sacrifice or saving the state. They are only interested in preserving their perks.
Eliminating Healthy Families Hurts Poor Children, Boosts Unions
The Democrat proposal to force children from Healthy Families, which is the statewide program that provides low cost health, dental and vision care to poor children, into Medi-Cal is another union giveaway. Keep in mind that Healthy Families has low administrative costs at $50 a client and is administered by an outside private contractor. Medi-Cal’s administrative overhead expenses, on the other hand, cost taxpayers $395 per recipient and is administered by the public employee unions.
At a time when California is facing chronic budget problems, everyone will have to sacrifice. With public education on the budget chopping block, it is only appropriate that state government at every level must also do so – including public employee unions.
Includes Job Killing “Cap and Trade” Tax on California’s Job Creators
Proving that they will stop at nothing to find more money to pay for big government programs, the Democrat budget directs nearly $500 million dollars from future cap and trade revenue to the General Fund. Cap and trade is the worst thing we could do right now for California’s ailing economy, further deteriorating our state’s business climate and putting more people out of work.
Many in the majority party seem to think that employers are an open checkbook to fund their big government priorities. Unfortunately, businesses can’t survive with burdens like cap and trade. Instead of imposing cap and trade, our priority should be enacting real job reforms that put Californians back to work. That is the best way to bring in new revenue for the state.
To stay informed with the latest in the State Budget debate, please visit our “California Budget Fact Check” website at www.cabudgetfactcheck.com.
Assistant Republican Floor Leader Curt Hagman, of Chino Hills, represents the 60th Assembly District in the California Legislature.