I don’t like the budget deal struck Monday in Sacramento, and I hope you don’t like it either.
Yes, there are no new taxes or fees. But Republican leaders could have and should have demanded an end to foolish borrowing, bribery, pension abuse, and accounting gimmicks. All these bad things, including tens of millions of dollars in abortion and abortion-related funding, are part of the spending package agreed to Monday by two Republican leaders, two Democrat leaders and Governor Schwarzenegger.
Why focus on the Republicans? Although they hold a minority of seats in both houses of the California Legislature, no budget can pass without a two-thirds vote. That means no budget can pass without the consent of at least four Republicans in the Assembly and two Republicans in the Senate.
Republicans control the budget and should use their power to hold out for real reform. Republican leaders Sam Blakeslee and Dennis Hollingsworth should have persevered and endured until the big-spending Democrats folded their cards and gave up.
Instead of thinking about the Legislature’s scheduled summer vacation being held up, Republicans should hold up this bad budget and demand an end to the foolish mismanagement of the people’s money.
Like a smart buyer looking for a new vehicle in a low-demand market, the Republicans should have walked off the car lot until their demands were met. It was doable and is still doable.
But we’re not seeing toughness like that, are we? No, we’re seeing something similar to February, when two Republican leaders met with Schwarzenegger and ended up agreeing to tax increases and fee hikes.
Only five months later, there are two new Republican leaders, but again, they met with Schwarzenegger and ended up agreeing with foolish borrowing, more gimmicks, and paying a $9.5 BILLION “bribe” to the state education establishment.
As columnist Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee wrote this morning:
Were California a corporation, rather than a state, its officers would be playing tiddlywinks with Bernie Madoff in the federal slammer, having engaged in years of hide-the-pea accounting tricks, under-the-table loans and other gimmicks to cover up the state’s perpetual operating deficits.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders are finalizing another version of the budget, the third in less than a year, that’s another mélange of fiscal tricks and evasions that’s likely, like its predecessors, to quickly crumble.
Here are the bad things in the budget I can’t stomach, and that you shouldn’t either:
1. Paying $9.5 BILLION to the wasteful, dysfunctional state education establishment in return for the educrats dropping their flimsy lawsuit about Prop. 98. This “payout” and “payoff” is sleight of hand that implements the ballot-box budgeting of Prop. 1B, which the voters rejected on May 19. There’s no money to pay this back and this means massive debt.
2. “Borrowing” $3 BILLION to $5 BILLION from counties, cities and special districts. This scheme allowed by the constitution means more debt to pay back. It also means local governments will be sorely tempted to raise local taxes and fees. This local raid is not good for the state or local governments or the people.
3. No pension reform. With outrageous examples of government retirees receiving 90% to 100% of their working income even when retired, burgeoning pension costs must be curtailed, not simply talked about.
4. Accounting gimmicks include “kicking the problem down the road” by accelerating income tax withholding, increasing estimated tax payments for businesses and the self-employed, and shifting the last day of pay for state employees ahead into the next fiscal year.
5. Taxpayer-funded abortions, which Republican legislators claim to oppose and Democrat legislators unanimously support, are still in the budget. Tens of millions of dollars are being spent on abortion and abortion-related programs of Planned Parenthood and their allies. While the Governor and the Democrats are pro-abortion, pro-life Californians know this budget is morally unacceptable.
PLEASE TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION
SaveCalifornia.com’s arguments won’t appeal to Democrat politicians, but will appeal to principled pro-family Republican legislators, who are meeting today to decide whether to accept or reject this bad budget deal.
Pick up the phone and call the Republican state legislators right now. Tell them “Vote NO on the budget. It’s full of foolish borrowing, payoffs, gimmicks, and kicking the problem down the road. Vote NO and hold out for true reform.”
15 Senate Republicans
Sam Aanestad (916) 651-4004
Roy Ashburn (916) 651-4018 voted for bad budget in February
John Benoit (916) 651-4037
Dave Cogdill (916) 651-4014 previous Senate Republican leader, voted for bad budget in February
Dave Cox (916) 651-4001
Jeff Denham (916) 651-4012
Bob Dutton (916) 651-4031
Tom Harman (916) 651-4035
Dennis Hollingsworth (916) 651-4036 Senate Republican leader, agreed to this new, bad budget
Bob Huff (916) 651-4029
Abel Maldonado (916) 651-4015 voted for bad budget in February
George Runner (916) 651-4017
Tony Strickland (916) 651-4019
Mimi Walters (916) 651-4033
Mark Wyland (916) 651-4038
29 Assembly Republicans
(Note: These are now the correct telephone numbers. I humbly apologize for initially posting fax numbers.)
Anthony Adams (916) 319-2059 voted for bad budget in February
Joel Anderson (916) 319-2077
Bill Berryhill (916) 319-2026
Tom Berryhill (916) 319-2025
Sam Blakeslee (916) 319-2033 Assembly Republican leader, agreed to this new, bad budget
Connie Conway (916) 319-2034
Paul Cook (916) 319-2065
Chuck DeVore (916) 319-2070
Michael Duvall (916) 319-2072
Bill Emmerson (916) 319-2063
Nathan Fletcher (916) 319-2075
Jean Fuller (916) 319-2032
Ted Gaines (916) 319-2004
Martin Garrick (916) 319-2074
Danny Gilmore (916) 319-2030
Curt Hagman (916) 319-2060
Diane Harkey (916) 319-2073
Kevin Jeffries (916) 319-2066
Steve Knight (916) 319-2036
Dan Logue (916) 319-2003
Jeff Miller (916) 319-2071
Brian Nestande (916) 319-2064
Roger Niello (916) 319-2005 voted for bad budget in February
Jim Nielsen (916) 319-2002
Jim Silva (916) 319-2067
Cameron Smyth (916) 319-2038
Audra Strickland (916) 319-2037
Van Tran (916) 319-2068
Mike Villines (916) 319-2029 previous Assembly Republican leader, voted for bad budget in February
When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice.
But when the wicked are in power, they groan.
Proverbs 29:2 NLT