Friday, November 7, 2003
IN MY OPINION (Column)
Now They’re Worried
By RAY HAYNES
(The writer represents the 66th Assembly District, which includes portions of western Riverside County and northern San Diego County. He is also the Senate Republican whip.)
In a recent appearance on CNN, Speaker Herb Wesson told Judy Woodruff that the lesson of the October 7 recall was that “people are tired of the partisan bickering.” According to Wesson, the recall was not a demand from the voters for a change of direction, but rather a request that the politicians in Sacramento “all just get along.”
Note to Wesson-there was no partisan bickering in California before October 7. Democrats ran everything. Democrats occupied every statewide office, controlled both houses of the Legislature, and, quite frankly, had their way with public policy in California. The Democrats screwed it up.
In fact, the only partisan bickering in Sacramento was the Republicans in the Legislature saying “don’t go there” or “don’t do that” because “you will screw it up if you do.” Republicans couldn’t stop the Democrats from doing anything. Republicans could only warn about the folly of the policies Democrat implemented.
And warn Republicans did, and foolish Democrats were. Whether it was housing policy, worker’s compensation policy, budget policy, transportation, education, legal, or welfare policy, the Republicans spent five years warning the Democrats, and Democrats spent five years screwing things up. The voters finally got fed up, and said enough is enough.
Now the Democrats are worried about the consequences of those decisions. In a recent interview, the Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee (the committee that is supposed to help restrain state spending), Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg called upon the new governor to propose a “comprehensive” budget plan to solve the “structural” budget deficit the state faces. Thanks-Republicans asked for that in May 2001 and May 2002 when it became clear that the budget was facing a problem. Democrats denied there was any “structural” problem at all. In fact, as late as September 2002, Gray Davis and the Democrats were claiming they had solved the budget problem. Now, just over a year later and $20 billion more in debt, these guys are finally getting responsible. Appreciate the input, Darrell, maybe if you had said something earlier, we could have actually done something about it.
The State Treasurer is also getting religion on fiscal responsibility. From May, when then Governor Davis proposed borrowing $12 billion with a revenue bond, until October 7, the state treasurer, a Democrat, said nary a peep about any possible legal problems with the bond. With the election of a Republican governor on October 7, this Democratic treasurer has now become the soul of wisdom on fiscal restraint, and legal impediments to the bond. Thanks for the help, Phil, maybe you should have said something when Gray was governor.
The good news is-the adults are back in charge. These problems will get fixed. Unfortunately, it is going to be a painful couple of years. Democrats will howl for taxes to solve these problems, but it is important to remember-they had the wrong solutions to the state’s problems before, they will have the wrong solutions in the future. They haven’t changed their solutions at all, they just now have a Republican with real responsibility who they can try to blame when their solutions don’t work.
No-the reason for the recall wasn’t partisan bickering. That is just beginning; with my Democratic colleagues doing most of the bickering. The problem that led to the recall was five years of one-party, left-wing rule of California, and the policy solutions the left-wingers enacted that nearly bankrupted our state. It is nice that they are finally worried about the future of this state, but let’s hope they actually contribute to the solution rather than complain about losing power. That would be a real switch for these folks.
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company