I was (half) wrong

December 16, 2007

Back in 2003, I voted to recall Governor Gray Davis and replace him with Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the time, I thought I was getting rid of an incompetent boob who was letting the legislature tax and spend California to ruin. And I thought I was electing a competent, business-friendly moderate conservative who would control spending and get the state’s finances in order.

Then I read this:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday he will declare a "fiscal emergency" in January to give him and the Legislature more power to deal with the state’s growing deficit.

Schwarzenegger made the announcement Friday after meeting with lawmakers and interest groups this week to tell them California’s budget deficit is worse — far worse — than economists predicted just a few weeks ago.

The shortfall is not $10 billion, but more than $14 billion — a 40 percent jump that would put it in orbit with some of the state’s worst fiscal crisis, those who have met with him said.

The article goes on to point out that state spending has grown under Arnie 40% since he replaced Davis. This year’s budget alone is 11% larger than last year’s, mostly because of service on the state’s debt. Some debt, of course, is necessary, such as the funding for the 405 freeway expansion. But responsible budgeting would have let to cuts elsewhere to keep things in balance. Not in California, however. 

What’s particularly galling, however, is the apparent incompetence of the Schwarzenegger Administration at budget forecasting. We’re not talking about being off a few percent here, but making an $18,000,000,000 leap from a $4 billion surplus to a $14 billion deficit. They can’t honestly claim to have been blindsided by the decline in the sub-prime mortgage market: a reasonable analysis would not have depended on housing markets staying as inflated as they were and then would have planned accordingly. Instead, we were treated to a view through rose-colored Terminator glasses.

And now, of course, Arnie will declare a fiscal emergency to deal with the crisis. Given his inability or unwillingness for force spending cuts on our Far Left legislature in the past, you can imagine their solution will involve one thing and one thing only: more taxes for you and me.

So, it was out with Davis and in with Schwarzenegger. Oh well. One out of two isn’t bad.

LINKS: More at Captain’s Quarters.