GOVERNMENT BY TEMPER TANTRUM….Pardon me for yet another rant about Arnold Schwarzenegger and the budget travails of my home state:
Next year’s state budget, with no changes to current programs or revenues, will be $10 billion in the red, and similar shortfalls are projected for the following years.
….When the state budget has taken a turn for the worse in the past, some legislators resisted common-sense solutions to increase revenue alongside prudent cuts….And we end up with bad quick-fixes. The perfect example is the $15-billion bond issued in 2004 to cover the last major budget shortfall. Repayment on that debt now costs the budget $3 billion a year.
Democrats deserve blame for mismanaging California’s budget in the early 00s, but it’s hard to overstate just how irresponsible and infantile Schwarzenegger and California Republicans have been since then. In 2003, in the middle of an existing budget crisis, Schwarzenegger ran a demagogic and pandering campaign based on cutting California taxes by $4 billion. Then, to fix the shortfall this caused, he supported the 2004 bond measure. The net cost to the state of this GOP flight to fantasy now adds up to $7 billion per year.
If it weren’t for Schwarzenegger and his fellow GOP tax fanatics, next year’s projected shortfall would be $3 billion — or possibly even less. That would have been manageable. Instead we careen from crisis to crisis thanks to the government-by-temper-tantrum practiced by modern California Republicans. Thanks a lot, guys.