By Tom Del Beccaro
As the budget deadline bears down on Jerry Brown, he obviously has no intention of being truthful with Californians. In his latest masking of reality, Brown says: “We have a plan, and it’s a very good plan,” Brown said. “It will put California’s finances on a firm footing for many, many years to come.” In truth, Brown plan includes a 27% increase in spending purportedly financed by $58 billion in new taxes over 5 years. That’s not economic firm footing – it’s more like financial quicksand.
Let’s be clear about the state of the California budget. There is no need for a tax increase and any such tax rate increase will only hurt future budgets. Several weeks ago, Republicans gave Brown a no tax increase budget that preserved education funding. Brown said no.
Why? Two simple reasons. First, he wants more money to pay for his 27% increase in spending. That’s right, all of Brown’s scare tactics and demands for taxes this year have nothing to do with this year’s budget – they have to do with his completely irresponsible desire to increase spending by $24 billion dollars over the next three years alone. Neither a single independent nor Democrat voter I have spoken to about that spending increase believes that is the right thing to do. Instead of making videos, perhaps Jerry Brown should level with California voters about his spending increase.
The second reason, of course, is that Jerry Brown’s main backers continue to want unchained license when it comes to spending in this state. Brown carried on a charade for months of budget negotiations. He was all take and no meaningful give. He gave a disingenuous S.O.S in his State of the State that he needed new ideas. Republicans gave him 53. By Brown’s rejection of any of those serious reforms, the Republicans who negotiated with Brown proved that he was not serious about a spending cap, pension reform or regulatory reform. Without those reforms, our creditors have no reason to improve our credit rating and prospective employers have reason to fear they will face higher taxes – both of which hurt our economy and kills jobs.
When revenues came in in excess of projections, Brown doubled down on spending and taxes. Incredibly, rather than politically thank his lucky stars he wouldn’t need to be rejected by voters on taxes (the last 7 statewide tax increases have been heartedly rejected), Brown pushed for more spending that accounted for all of the unexpected revenue – this from a man who claims that he would make hard choices.
By any credible analysis, Californians don’t have the money to bail out Sacramento any more. They have lost more than $1.7 trillion in homeowner equity since 2007 and face the second highest unemployment/underemployment rates in the country. Brown’s call for $58 billion in new taxes is as wise as Hoover’s and FDR’s tax increases during the Great Depression.
That’s the truth of it and no one should support Jerry Brown’s request for increasing spending by 27%.