Ray Haynes

Ray Haynes served in the California legislature from 1992 through 2006.

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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

 
 

California Does Deserve a Stimulus

 

by Ray Haynes - State Capitol (bio) (email)(print)

 
11-22-2008 9:53 am
Speaker Bass wrote a column in the Sacramento Bee today calling for a "stimulus package" for California.  Her solution? Give the state more federal welfare.  Since the state's financial problems have been caused by overspending, poor fiscal management of the tax dollars entrusted to them, and a complete lack of self control, you would expect the President and Congress to say no to this outlandish demand.  However, since neither the President nor Congress have said no to the completely self indulgent behavior of the private sector, the Speaker's request might actually be considered.

The Speaker claims that the state has "cut" spending by $15 billion.  Only in budget la-la land doublespeak can one claim that a $2 billion increase in spending is a $15 billion cut.  The fact is this problem was caused by overspending and will only be solved by real spending reductions.  Not reductions to the baseline, not reductions on projected spending increases, not "we want to spend $120 billion, but we only have enough revenue to justify $105 billion so we have to cut $15 billion in spending."  No--in this case spending has to be reduced to match revenue.

Now here is the good news.  There is only an actual $5.6 billion difference between what the state spent last year on programs and the projected drop in revenue this year.  That is a 5% cut.  A nickel on every dollar spent by the state.  More important, that is the exact same amount of money we spent on those same programs in 2005-06, when the state legislature raised its spending by over 10%.  In fact, if the state hadn't increased its spending by records amounts then (when I and several others recommended against that course of action), it wouldn't be in this predicament now.  It would have surpluses, and could be bragging about its wisdom in fiscal management in the midst of this economic collapse.  The Governor, had he listened to me, Tom McClintock, and others, would be a national hero, not a joke.  At the time, his staff was angry at our suggestions.  They don't look so bad now.

So, once again, I am making a suggestion.  Want a stimulus package? Cut taxes, don't raise them.  Cut spending, don't defend the existing (and failing) system.  Really reform state government, don't capitulate to the existing structure that has driven this state to the point of collapse.  To my Republican colleagues, you are doing the right thing.  Fight for real reform.  Your numbers today may be small, but a real, public fight for the right cause, the cause of reform and freedom, will yield great benefits for the state and for the future.  It is not a partisan battle, it is a battle for the future of this state.  Will we continue our profligate spending patterns and the slow collapse of our government, or will we actually reform our state government, and set into place a future of hope and optimism?  If the state raises taxes, refuses to cut spending and reform its programs, it is once again putting off to the future the decisions that have to be made.

Spending has become a cancer on this state.  The surgery has to be done now, massive chemotherapy is necessary now, or the cancer will kill us.  It will not be easy, the patient will cry in pain, but it must be done, or all of us will pay the price later, and the pain will be worse.
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We miss you in the state legislature, Ray.

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