By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
The state must cut spending
Placeholder Image
The mismanagement in Sacramento is almost enough for conservatives like me to want to leave the state.

It's an annual tradition now for state lawmakers to fail to pass a state budget by June 30. Such is the problem when there's more of a leadership deficit rather than an issue of not enough revenue to pay for the expansive state spending program.

We should look at Sacramento no differently than a business or household. If a family suffers a cut in pay, there's two options to avoid the poor house. The first is to cut back on expenses. You shop for groceries at cheaper outlets. You drop cable TV. You cut out entertainment. You reduce traveling. You make an effort to turn off lights and appliances. Your second option, of course, is to bring in more income; you get a second job or find creative ways to make money from home. The one option you do not have is to continue spending like there's no tomorrow. That ultimately leads to bankruptcy.

The budgetary quagmire in Sacramento can be summed up this way: Democrats who won't cut back on state spending, and Republicans who steadfastly oppose new taxes.

Sacramento lawmakers, led by the Democrats, want to continue spending like there's no tomorrow. Instead of make obvious as well as painful cuts, we are now hearing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger - who is only Republican in name only - supporting the idea of a sales tax increase. And as usual, the Legislature is planning to raid money from counties and cities, where government has the greatest effect on our lives. Most local governments have been able to pass budgets and balanced ones at that.

Few elected officials in Sacramento are talking about doing the sensible thing: reduce spending in a sensible fashion. Our own state Senator Jeff Denham, R-Merced, has proposed that the state end wasteful practices. He was unsuccessful in getting Democrats to go along with a plan to sell off state resources - like the Cow Palace, Los Angeles Coliseum and state-owned golf courses - to get rid of debt payments, which are 10 percent of the budget.

Put the private interests have a stranglehold on officials who are influenced big time by labor and other special interests. Another way the state could save money is do away with this insane law that all taxpayer projects must be paid by prevailing wage. That bill was the result of labor-backed Democrats who sought guarantees of jobs for labor unions. The bill has consumed millions of precious dollars toward necessary infrastructure projects. The Democrats saw to it that even counties and cities must pay prevailing wage on public projects, such as the Ceres Community Center.

Denham has decided to not carry bills in 2008 that would result in more state spending, saying the state can't afford it. That approach is noble but I'm afraid the rest of the Senate doesn't feel that way.

Unfortunately the state is overrun with politicians who want the state to the provider for all, to get as many voters dependent on Sacramento, so they can retain the power. You see it in people like Democrat Pro Tem Don Perata who launched an aggravating recall effort at Jeff Denham in June because Denham refused to vote for a state budget that was $13 billion in the red. We remember his underhanded tactics with petition gathers who told voters to sign the recall petition, "If you want more money for schools." Thank God the people saw through that political dirty trick and defeated the recall.

We also see arrogance in lawmakers like Democrat Senator Patricia Wiggins who just lashed out at a Sacramento pastor during a state Senate committee hearing on the state's efforts to cut emissions. Pastor Robert Jones of Oak Park United Methodist Church was testifying that government mandates and taxes hurt the poor and vulnerable. Less than two minutes into his testimony, Wiggins interrupted with, "Excuse me, but I think your arguments are bull----."

We saw similar arrogance in Washington last May when Rep. Maxine Waters threatened to have the federal government take over the oil companies during a session where oil company executives were grilled like thieves. Waters told the president of a major oil company to "guess what this liberal would be all about? This liberal would be all about socializing -- uh, uh, would be about basically taking over and the government running all of your companies." No, I say, Maxine Waters types are part of the reason we have high oil prices; they are so embedded with environmentalists that we can't drill for oil in our own country. This is not to mention all their gas taxes and regulations that drive up production costs.

My blood boiled on Monday when I received a press release from the CSEA (California School Employees Association) president Rob Feckner stating another Perata like attack on both Denham and state Assemblyman Greg Aghazarian. (They're targets because they are Republicans. Because my wife is a member of CSEA, I get to read of the unabashed attacks of Republicans and the wholesale endorsement of anyone with a capital D behind their name.) Get this: Feckner is launching 60-second radio ads urging Ceres area voters to call their state legislators (Denham and Aghazarian) and urge them to "put kids before tax breaks and special interests" (by voting for the budget today)." Feckner describes how school employees are trying to get schools ready for the return of students, while Denham and Aghazarian "are holding up the state budget and forcing more cuts to our schools." Such a tactic is disingenuous and dishonest. Blaming Denham and Aghazarian because they hold their principles of fiscal conservatism?

It's too bad that holding the line against red-ink budgets and more taxes for the sake of the working man is seen as a special interest.

How do you feel? Let Jeff know by emailing him at