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Doug LaMalfa

LaMalfa, a rice farmer from Butte County, is a former member of the State Assembly.

 

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Today's Commentary on the News

 

Governor: Declare A State of Fiscal Emergency!

 

by Jon Fleischman - Publisher (bio) (email)

 
11-28-2007 8:41 am

Today we are formally calling on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare a state of Fiscal Emergency for California state government.  The long and short of it is that the anticipated revenues for California for THIS FISCAL YEAR are falling billions short of projections.  While it is laudable that the Governor has instructed his agency and department heads to start to look towards cuts for the FY 07-08 budget, which will be very helpful in terms of helping to provide a starting point for massive shortfall that is projected for next year's budget, what we have is a TODAY problem.  Hence the need for a call for Fiscal Emergency.

With the passage of Proposition 58, the Governor has the power to make this declaration, lay out a plan to immediately trim government spending, and call the legislature into session to act on the parts of his plan that cannot be done unilaterally.  This would show leadership, and would acutely focus the attention of all of our policy makers on dealing with a very real problem -- we don't have enough income to support all of our spending!

Now I know that the Governor would prefer to keep the focus on his health-care proposal, or his one-man assault against the rising temperature of the earth.  But the reality is that both of these public-policy pushes actually make our state's fiscal crisis WORSE not better.  We've seen what government can do with bureaucracies like the U.S. Postal Service -- can you imagine state government wading into healthcare in a Soviet-style regulatory fashion and the results being anything other than a disaster, not only for the quality and availability of healthcare, but in terms of economic chaos?  And the regulations being put into effect because of AB 32's requirements for reducing carbon emissions here in California are extremely damaging to the economy.

Concern for access and quality of service issues in healthcare, and safeguarding planet Earth for future generations are noble causes, and I don't want my cynicism for the particular paths that the Governor is advocating to try to achieve his goals to muddy my message -- it's just that the way he is handling these issues is... EXPENSIVE.  We can't afford it.  Not without massive tax increases that will significantly reduce the quality of life for California taxpayers.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected in a recall election that was, in a large part, a function of massive state debt and fiscal crisis.  During that election, the Governor made promises to the people of California that he could and would make the tough decisions, and take on any special interests necessary, to ensure that we lived within our means.  Because the California economy has hummed along, and also with the willingness of Californian's to take out bonds to pay off some debt, the Governor has not had to really trim state spending.  But with the state on track to overspend by billions in this fiscal year, and with a huge train-wreck looming for next year's budget dance, it's time to get everyone's eye on the ball.

Governor, declare a State of Emergency for California State Government.  We need your leadership on this issue.

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