San Diego Business Journal

It Appears the Governor Has Lied to Us Again

OPINION by Sen. Ray Haynes

I have to admit I really wanted to be a good legislator and do a good job.

A few years ago, Gov. Davis said that "job" was to implement his vision. And I tried; I really tried to implement his vision. I just couldn't figure out which vision he wanted implemented.

Was it the fiscally responsible vision, or the vision that took a $12 billion surplus and turned it into a $24 billion deficit in just two years? Was it the "I'll never propose tax increases" vision, or the vision that recently proposed $5 billion in new taxes to cover his history of profligate government spending?

During the time Gray Davis has spent as governor of California, state government has grown faster, the state has hired more bureaucrats, and state spending has increased faster than at any similar time in California history. In addition, since 1962, revenue has actually fallen from one year to the next only once , in the 1992-93 budget year to 1993-94 budget year, when revenue receipts fell $2 billion during that time period (from $41 billion to $39 billion).

This governor, through his mishandling of the economy and the state's finances, has seen his revenue drop $11 billion from 2000-01 budget ($77.6 billion) to 2001-02 budget (an estimated $66.1 billion).

He was warned about the impending problem. The evidence of the coming collapse in revenue was clear last May. It was obvious then that approximately $5 billion in immediate cuts were necessary. That alone would have solved about $12 billion of the current $24 billion problem.

He was told by the Legislative Analyst's Office that he was building too many permanent government programs on an uncertain capital gains revenue source (a source of revenue, by the way, generated by a huge federal capital gains tax cut). He ignored the warnings. He was told that his 42 percent increase in welfare programs (a total of $6 billion), his hiring of 45,000 new state employees, and his general push to increase government to its largest size ever was creating a structural budget deficit of monumental proportions. He ignored the warnings. He was warned that a 105 percent increase in "general government" as compared with a 33.7 percent increase in education was an example of misplaced priority. He ignored the warning.

He now has a $24 billion deficit. He promised us in January that he would not raise taxes.

He lied. He's raising taxes over $5 billion. He promised us he would act responsibly with respect to the public purse.

He lied. He raised government spending for activities other than education by $11 billion. He promised us he would "protect the surpluses" of his first two years in office.

He lied. He spent them all, and created a deficit with his spending.

He promised the first three priorities of his administration would be education, education, and education.

He lied. They were big government, welfare, and more government.

The state could solve this budget problem today. It could roll back the size of state government to the size it was in 1998, and cut $11 billion from its spending. No new taxes would be necessary to accomplish this, nor would we be "restructuring" our debt or borrowing massive amounts of cash. Just roll it back to the time when Gray Davis took office.

Of course, if we did that, we would find out just how unnecessary Gray Davis has been as governor, so we can reverse the decision we made in November to elect him as well.

Wait , we can't do that in this June's budget; we will have to wait until November to correct that part of this year's budget problem, and that is the most critical element of any budget solution that may be proposed this year.

Haynes is a state senator representing the 36th District, which includes portions of North County.