Califonia Assemblyman and Taxpayer Protection Caucus Chairman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) held a conference call with bloggers yesterday afternoon to discuss the significant and numerous challenges facing the state of California.
DeVore displayed a depth of knowledge about the real problems facing the Golden State and a grasp of the facts that is simply not held by any members of the majority in the CA legislature. DeVore did a great job of explaining why the state’s problem is overspending, not a lack of revenue.
DeVore informed call participants that spending has increased 100% over the past 10 years. As this website has previously mentioned, since 1991, CA lawmakers have increased spending by 300%. Had spending been limited to population growth and inflation since that time, the state would be sitting on top of a $15 billion surplus rather than facing a more than $21 billion defiict.
As another example of the gross overspending that has brought a great state to the brink of fiscal insolvency, DeVore pointed to that fact that California welfare spending is 3 times greater than the national average. Need further proof of the fiscal mismanagement and bureaucratic redundancy weighing down California’s economy, DeVore has it. For one example, "there are 3 agencies that oversee the use of agricultural pesticides," said DeVore.
Despite California voters sending an overwhelming message yesterday that business as usual in Sacramento cannot continue, DeVore predicts this indisputable message from voters will fall upon deaf ears in the Democrat majorities in the legislature.
The Assemblyman and candidate for U.S. Senate believes California Democrats will take one of two routes to avoid necessary reforms:
1) Push a "scorched Earth" budget in which popular services are cut (but leaving alone the wasteful and unnecessary spending that benefits the special interests of the Left such as the public employee unions) as a way to punish voters who rejected the massive tax hikes found in Proposition 1A.
2) Attempt to illegally pass further tax increases with a simple majority, as was attempted last December, rather than with the constiutionally mandated 2/3rds majority. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has already announced that it will legally challenge any such attempt.
DeVore is also heavy on solutions. One of his proposals that ATR supports is tapping of the vast oil reserves found in the waters off of California’s coast. DeVore mentioned the fact that there are at least 9 billion barrels of oil off California’s coast and at least 1 billion barrels are located in waters that are solely controlled by the state. DeVore noted that the barrels found in state controlled waters alone could generate $5 billion for the state right away via securitization. Furthermore, he noted that these reserves can be tapped in an environmentally sensitive way with slant drilling, which requires no new rigs. ATR testified in favor of drilling off the California coast at a Minerals Management Service hearing in San Francisco last month.
One thing that was made clear yesterday, it’s going to be an interesting next few months at the California Capitol. Stay tuned to this website for future updates on the California budget.