I imagine you were all glued to the tube this morning or, like me, linked in via webcast to hear our Governor deliver his 'State of the State' speech. No? Am I the only one with no life here and a jones for politics?
Well, you didn't miss much. Really. It was over and done in about 10 minutes. At a time when our state faces some of the gravest challenges to our economy, jobs, HOUSING, etc., the Governator spoke for just over 10 minutes. Didn't have much to say anyway.
After spending the first couple minutes sucking up to President-elect Obama, Arnold proceeded to let us know what we were in for:
I will not give the traditional State of the State address today, because the reality is that our state is incapacitated until we resolve the budget crisis. The truth is that California is in a state of emergency. Addressing this emergency is the first and greatest thing we must do for the people. The 42 billion dollar deficit is a rock upon our chest and we cannot breathe until we get it off. It doesn't make any sense to talk about education, infrastructure, water, health care reform and all these things when we have this huge budget deficit.
Hmmm, well can't disagree with him there except that IMHO he missed a golden opportunity to put some pressure on the people who are standing between our state and a functional resolution - namely the Democratic lackeys to the states major unions. It's no mystery how we got here, why our budget growth has outstripped our revenue growth by tenfold during the past 5 years and why we can't address the core issues. Both houses of our legislature have been controlled by Democrats for more than 2 decades and the excess spending that occurred during our last two housing booms and our dot.com boom has become institutionalized with most Democrats owing their careers to the unions that bought their seats.
Here's what the Governor did address:
Our citizens do not believe that we in government are in touch with their needs. These needs are not unreasonable. At the end of the day, most people do not require a great deal from their government.
They expect the fundamentals.
They want to live in safety.
They want a good education for their children.
They want jobs.
They want to breathe clean air.
They want water when they turn on the faucet and electricity when they turn on the switch.
And they want these things delivered efficiently and economically.
That's all true, isn't it? MOST people do not require a great deal. However SOME people do. And given the rampant race to socialize and the bail-out mentality at the federal level, MORE people are demanding MORE. And at our state level, maybe most people don't REQUIRE a great deal, but that hasn't stopped our legislature from GIVING them more. The culture of entitlement is alive and well in Sacramento and their largesse is well appreciated in certain circles.
But let's look at his comments more closely - they want to live in safety. Hmmm - isn't most public safety provided by our LOCAL police forces? Aside from the CHP and the massive amount of money funneled into the states most lucrative union the Prison Guards, what is the cost to the state for safety?
A good education? Absolutely. But as a state we spend more on education alone that most states spend on their entire budget. The Teachers Union owns large voting blocks of our legislature. Yet our state consistently ranks in the lower 3rd on national test scores. The amount of money we are throwing at this problem doesn't seem to help much.
Jobs? Oh yes, please. We want jobs. But is it the states job to create jobs? I mean aside from creating more bureaus to oversee the committees who study the groups that work with the commissions - does the state actually create jobs? Howzabout reducing taxes so companies quit leaving California? How about eliminating red tape and whacked-out environmental requirements so companies can start-up here, or expand their operations? Private enterprise creates jobs - not government.
Clean air. Oh Brother. The government's in the clean air business? Along with keeping mylar balloons and plastic grocery sacks out of my hands - they enact legislation aimed at driving even more industries out of California to comply with some pipe dreams Jerry Brown has.
Water and electricity? I'm sorry. Aren't those services provided by private utilities? Again, isn't it the government whose actions have endangered the Sacramento Delta water shed, cut our water allocation 85% this year to preserve the Delta Smelt, prohibited off-shore oil exploration, prohibited cross-state transport of LNG, administratively eliminated development of nuclear energy while making it cost prohibitive to develop wind or solar energy even though they claim that's what they want?
So out of all the basic services he described this morning, the majority aren't even things provided by the state, should not be messed with by the state, or wherein the state is only giving us marginal bang for our bucks. Nothing there that would justify a $148 Billion dollar budget. NOTHING that should require you and I to pay more taxes to make up a $42 Billion shortfall caused not by us, but by the legislature. But we will have that dubious honor anyway unless I miss my guess. And I rarely miss guesses like this.
Anyway, if you would like to see the whole script of the Governors remarks this morning, here's a link. It's only about 4 double spaced paged so it's a short read with no pictures: http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/capitolalertlatest/018621.html