Newsom Provides False Commentary on His Budget Priorities

Newsom Provides False Commentary on His Budget Priorities

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference in Beijing on Oct. 25, 2023. (Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images)

John Moorlach

John Moorlach

3/1/2024

Updated: 3/1/2024

Commentary
Having served on the California State Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee during my six years in Sacramento, I was recently challenged to take a closer look at Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget.
I started with his Jan. 10, 2024, budget message to the members of the California State Legislature. I was not amused. It was so erroneous that the phrase “snow job” came to mind. Let’s dissect just his opening sentence.
“Over the last five years, we have worked together to pass budgets that have reflected our priorities ...”
Nice opening, but redundant flattery, as every budget reflects priorities. Then the comedy starts.
“... expanding access to education ...”
How so? Here in the Orange and Los Angeles County area, districts are closing schools due to declining enrollment. There are 1,400 schools in California that saw enrollment decline by 20 percent or more.
The only area where enrollment is improving is with California’s charter schools. And Mr. Newsom and the Legislature, in conjunction with the California Teachers Association and related public school teacher unions, have done everything in their power to limit access to and growth of charter schools. They don’t even want charter schools to share campuses with failing public schools.
The simple truth is that parents are waiting in line to enter their children into charter schools. The Orange County Classical Academy in the city of Orange has a lengthy list of students wishing to attend. And why not? Charter schools outperform regular unionized public schools. And charter teachers are happier than their counterparts in public schools.
“... and [expanding] health care ...”
This must be code language for giving free healthcare to illegal immigrants. This bragging point has an anticipated cost of $3 to $6 billion per year. Brilliant. While revenues are projected to decline, Mr. Newsom approved this initiative in the last year. Talk about being tone deaf to warnings about a slowing economy.
“... combatting crime of all kinds ...”
How can our governor write this stuff with a straight face? Was sending California Highway Patrolmen to the crime-ridden city of Oakland for five days “combatting crime?” I fly into Oakland on a regular basis. When I fill up my rental car, the gas station has a loud announcement on its speaker system that seems to be on a continuous loop: “Monitor your vehicle at all times.” Translation: Don’t come into our food mart if you don’t have someone guarding your car. The reports of immediate window breaking, laptop and luggage stealing, and quick getaways are true and legendary in this Bay Area city.
Perhaps Mr. Newsom should watch Siyamak Khorrami’s California Insider interview with Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire and get an appreciation for the crime that is rampant in the state.
“... getting tens of thousands of people out of encampments and into housing ...”
Really? Then why has the homelessness count gone up 9 percent in the last two years in Los Angeles County? One San Jose high school district has seen its homeless student population triple in the last three years.
Facts are stubborn things, Mr. Newsom, but California has the highest homeless rate in the nation! The State’s budget has nearly doubled in the last six years, and everything the Sacramento monopoly party brags about is going in the wrong direction.
“... building the infrastructure for California’s clean future while creating jobs ...”
Trying to electrify everything is an interesting proposition, but if the existing grid is inadequate, then this talking point is empty fluff.
And the governor’s approval of the reduction of tax incentives to encourage solar roof top installations has caused a reduction in sales and a massive loss in jobs!
“... and addressing the accelerating threats of global climate change.”
Great. But Mr. Newsom is focused on the wrong crises. And Californians will pay a steep price for it.
Marc Joffe, a federalism and state policy analyst at the Cato Institute, and advisor to the California Policy Center, recently reminded me and others that: “When thinking about the climate change claims our political leaders make, it is important to recognize that California is currently responsible for about 0.75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, no California-specific policy can ‘solve’ climate change. Any savings the state achieves from its many initiatives will likely be offset by growth in China’s world-leading greenhouse gas emissions.”
While I served in Sacramento, it felt like being in “opposite land.” The focus of the monopoly party and our governor is so off target. So much so that it’s easy for the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, to take legitimate shots at the Golden State. When the two governors debated on the Sean Hannity Show, every graph that was put on the screen made California look awful. And it is. Thanks to a Democrat governor who has failed to focus on the most important priorities. It looks like the debate had an impact on Mr. Hannity, as he recently announced that he’s moving to Florida.
The opening sentence of Mr. Newsom’s budget message is rife with great material for a comedian, not for the head of the nation’s most populous state. If this isn’t comedy, which is usually based on truth, then it is a sad obfuscation of what is really going on. And if Mr. Newsom can’t figure this out, and soon, then God help the residents of California who have chosen not to leave.
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John Moorlach

John Moorlach

Author

John Moorlach is the director of the California Policy Center's Center for Public Accountability. He has served as a California State Senator and Orange County Supervisor and Treasurer-Tax Collector. In 1994, he predicted the County's bankruptcy and participated in restoring and reforming the sixth most populated county in the nation.

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