Here’s the text of Jerry Brown’s speech. Read it and weep for California. It is mostly an argument on why the legislature should authorize an appeal to the people to extend “temporary” tax hikes. Brown is demanding that the Republican legislators in the state clear the way for a vote on the extension. They should do no such thing, as the voters overwhelmingly rejected just such a set of tax hikes less than two years ago. Going back for another “no” vote wastes time and diverts attention from the fact that California is a bloated state government with enormous unfounded pension liabilities and chaotic laws and budget rules.
Why would anyone take the new governor seriously when the absurd “green chemistry” regulations lurk, while legions of small time bureaucrats sit on permit applications, while the Coastal Commission routinely blocks ready-to-build projects and the schools refuse to adopt even the most basic reforms to empower charter schools to educate children.
If there was anything approaching a real investigative media in the state, story after story would flow revealing shocking stories of waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayers and businesses along the lines of the City of Bell scandal. Not all of them would involve trucks of misspent money, but also misspent time and effort. Just this week the Alliance Defense Fund had to sue the Los Angeles School District to force the district to allow a fifth grader to sing a Christian-themed song in an annual talent show. Just this week the absurd show-down over the Delta smelt continued, with the Los Angeles Times calling the fish “the most powerful player in California water.” Just last month, tens of millions in so-called “stimulus funds” were designated to purchase an existing train station as a sort of salve to disappointed special interests.
California makes Greece look well run. The level of competence of many of the legislators is downright scary, and even America’s most interesting recycling project, Jerry Brown, seems out of new and novel ideas. There is no plan for the unfolding fiscal crisis, no serious budget cutting underway, no federal bailout on the horizon -- just an accelerating march towards a fiscal cliff, punctuated by new bursts of judicial and regulatory excess along the way.