Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger gave his annual State of the State Address today to a Joint Session of the California State Legislature. Assemblyman Guy Houston (R-San Ramon) issued the following statements in response:
“The Legislature must respond to the Governor’s call to rein in spending. The State of California must take a hard look at its spending priorities and its funding obligations. Retiree pension and health care costs and our water storage and delivery infrastructure are only two of many unavoidable needs that must be addressed. The debate over how to resolve these issues will dominate this year’s agenda.”
“I agree with the Governor that our “boom or bust” budgeting has to stop. If we can put a process in place to help smooth out the peaks and the valleys of our spending, then we will be in much better shape during the difficult years.”
In an interview with Halfway to Concord, Houston characterized the Governor’s speech as typically flowery and positive, but was in essence, an “I told you so speech,” that portends a third attempt by the Governor to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment that the Legislature, dominated by Democrats, has twice soundly rejected.
Clearly, “the Governor is the only adult in the room,” said Houston, who represents Alameda, Contra Costa, Sacramento, and San Joaquin counties. “We can’t sustain automatic spending increases built into legislation favored by the Democrats.”
Houston explained Gov. Schwarzenegger’s call for 10-percent across-the-board spending cuts as the only solution to out of control spending where the “obligations and formulas cannot work or be sustained except in ‘boom times.’”
Houston explained that the Governor will present his new budget proposal later this week and the only exceptions to his spending cuts would be in areas where federal funding requires some matching monies. Protections for public school funding would remain in effect as, though actual dollars may decrease, the percentage of the overall funding would not change per Prop 98 requirement.
When asked why it is that when faced with a $14-billion dollar deficit, Democrats complain that Republicans should compromise and raise taxes instead of Democrats reducing spending themselves, Houston laughed, “Democrats in the Legislature now have nowhere else to go. They can no longer steal funds from local government, our schools, or transportation. They will finally have to address the structural deficit they created.”