Thursday, June 9, 2005
IN MY OPINION (Column)
Same Old Same Old
By RAY HAYNES
(The writer represents the 66th Assembly District, which includes portions of western Riverside County and northern San Diego County.)
Term limits was supposed to bring new blood and new ideas to the Legislature. It was supposed to get people who had been living in the real world, understood real world solutions to government programs, and because the new blood would not be “professional politicians,” they would not perpetuate the old thinking and the old processes that had gridlocked the California Legislature since the 1960’s.
But this week the Democrats once again proposed tax increases to “solve” the state budget deficit.
Well, term limits sounded good anyway.
Newt Gingrich once noted that institutions are 97 percent structure and 3 percent personnel. He was right. After thirteen years in the Legislature, I have seen the names and faces change, but the same old solutions by the Left that runs the Legislature year after year.
1991-Facing a $14 billion deficit, Democrats proposed raising taxes by $7 billion and “cutting spending” by $7 billion. Spending went up anyway and so did the tax rates. The only problem was that revenue dropped almost $2 billion. The tax rate increase resulted in a real revenue loss, and created a $3 billion deficit.
1993-to solve the real deficit caused by the 1991 tax increase, Democrats proposed raising taxes again, claiming that the 1991 tax was “not enough. Governor Pete Wilson said no to the tax increase, cut spending by $3 billion, and by 1994, revenues once again started to increase.
1995-a balanced budget is finally back. The state had to borrow money to get through 1993 and 1994, and 1995 sees enough money to pay off that borrowing. In 1995, however, the 1 percent increase in the top tax rate that occurred in 1991 is set to expire. The Democrats proposed keeping the tax. Governor Wilson says no, and the top rate drops from 11 to 9 percent. The 1995-6 budget year sees record surpluses, as does the budget years from 1996 through 2000. State spending increases in these years from $48 billion to $79 billion general fund during this same time.
2000-faced with record budget surpluses five years in a row, the Democrats propose allowing the sales tax to increase. Democrats claim we are not going to have enough revenue to cover their $82 billion 2001-02 budget plan.
2001-after allowing the sales tax to increase in the 2000-01 budget year, Democrats find that they are facing a record deficit. They propose raising taxes, more specifically, the car tax that Governor Wilson had cut in 1998. Their $82 billion revenue prediction turns into $66 billion in actual revenue (for the record, the state spent $64 billion in the 1999-2000 budget year). Rather than reduce spending to 1999 levels, Democrats propose increasing taxes to pre-surplus rates.
2002-still refusing to cut spending, Democrats try to violate the state Constitution and raise taxes on a majority vote. Governor Davis up for re-election decides increasing taxes would not be well received, and so borrows $5 billion to cover the spending increases instead.
2003-Governor Davis allows the Democrats to raise the car tax, and loses his job in a recall. Governor Schwarzenegger reduces the car tax; California’s economy starts to recover.
2004-Democrats proposed raising taxes. Governor Schwarzenegger says no — economy continues to recover, revenue increases.
2005-State sees first surpluses since the 2000-01 budget. Democrats once again propose tax increases.
It’s the same old story on a different day. Since 1991, the Democrat members of the Legislature have changed completely. No Democrat who served in the Legislature in 1991 is in the Legislature today, but their solutions never change. They can never get enough power or enough of your money. We have a Governor and an initiative system to help keep their impulses in check, but as long as liberal legislators from Los Angeles and San Francisco continue to dominate the Assembly and the Senate, it’s going to be SSDD: Same Stuff, Different Day.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company