Friday, December 12, 2003
IN MY OPINION (Column)
Thanks For Your Input, Phil: About Three Years Too Late
By RAY HAYNES
(The writer represents the 66th Assembly District, which includes portions of western Riverside County and northern San Diego County.)
Californiaís treasurer, Phil Angelides, recently came out against the new Governorís recovery plan, specifically opposing the bond part of the proposal. He promised to spend $350,000 and run television ads attacking the plan.
His reason? He doesnít want our children paying for the problems we created.
Thanks, Phil, for the input. You said nothing when we passed a $25 billion school bond in the midst of a severe budget crisis. You said nothing when it became clear that we were squandering our surplus on bogus welfare proposals. You said nothing when we began borrowing $13.3 billion illegally (without a vote of the people). You said nothing while we rolled over our accumulating debt from 2001-02 to 02-03 to 03-04 budget years, ultimately taking our $12 billion surplus and turning it into a $10.8 billion debt.
You said nothing when we increased public employeesí pension benefits so much that we took a multi-billion surplus in the CalPERS program, which we were told would not require any general fund payments for years, and turned it into such a large debt that the state was required to borrow $2.5 billion from the general fund to pay this yearís obligation to the pension fund.
Thanks for the input, but you are just about 3 years too late. Could it be that you sat silently by while your Democrat colleagues in the Legislature and the Governorís office destroyed this stateís economic vitality and its budget because you thought there was nothing wrong then? Or could it be that you just didnít want to take the political heat from them?
When you campaigned for higher taxes last March and April, you made no mention of the 43% increase in welfare spending since 1999, the year Gray Davis took office, even though welfare rolls had gone down since then. You didnít ask the Legislature to actually look at what they were doing to taxpayers and future generations then. Why was that?
And why now are you complaining? The Legislature has already approved the borrowing of this money, last July. They just didnít require a vote of the people, like the Constitution requires. When the lawsuits against the pension bond were successful, you didnít say a word about how it was necessary for the Legislature to come back and make sure it had the cash flow (through borrowing) that it needed to pay this yearís debt. You said nothing about how to fix the legal and budget issues created by Gray Davisí and your Democrat legislator friends debt. Why not? Why now?
With all due respect, the Treasurerís current ranting smells of politics as usual in Sacramento. The new Governorís proposals are a serious attempt at trying to fix problems that were created while Angelides sat quietly by, compounding those problems by his silence. The moment Schwarzenegger announced his plan, Angelides pounced, apparently to rocket his 2006 governorís campaign to the forefront of peopleís attention.
Thanks Phil, for the input. Maybe next time youíll call your Democrat friends to account when they spend the taxpayersí money like a bunch of drunken sailors. Maybe next time we can count on you to be fiscally responsible when it is the right thing to do, not when you think you will get a political advantage.
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company