Maybe the Governator should not have increased spending by 40% since taking office. It’s funny how California’s media loves to point out that Schwarzenegger is popular despite being a Republican, which isn’t hard to believe when you look closely at how much he resembles the Democrats in Sacramento. California’s Republican contingent has been fighting the spending battle without the support of the Governor and now the chickens have come home to roost.
It’s interesting how the NYTimes pins part of the blame on the Governor’s “decision to cut fees on cars and trucks when he came into office”. That cutting of fees refers to part of the reason why former Gov. Davis was recalled in the first place, he increased vehicle registration fees by 300% in just one year, which means my annual car registration would have increased to over $2,500 a year. CA voters, Democrats and Republicans alike, were outraged and the recall effort got a big boost. But it’s really a moot point because the fee increase was implemented in the year that Davis was recalled so Schwarzenegger’s decision to cut the fees has little impact on anything other than future revenues, which surely would have been offset by a decline in sales taxes generated from new vehicle purchases (buying a new car in CA, add 10% for sales tax and registration fees in year 1).
If you live and pay taxes in California, grab your wallet and bend over because there is one truth in California politics: spending does not go down. We continue to live and die on the backs of one boom to another and the frequency and amplitude of the swings is getting bigger, not smaller. We went from the tech boom in the last 1990’s to the real estate boom of this decade.
Lastly, the thing that is really scandalous about this looming budget deficit is that Schwarzenegger was just this year projecting a surplus. He’s fiscally incompetent, as was his predecessor and Davis was booted out in an unprecedented recall election.
Facing a projected $14 billion budget deficit, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday said he will declare a fiscal emergency, which will allow the governor and lawmakers to cut spending more quickly and also sets the stage for slashing state services and programs – perhaps by as much as 10 percent. [From San Jose Mercury News – Fiscal emergency for California]