California Governor Jerry Brown will be leaving office next month after eight years in this position. (It was his second time in the governor’s mansion after having held the same post from 1975 to 1983.) At eighty years of age, Brown may well be heading off to retirement, thus freeing him up to say some things which might not have played very well with his constituents when he was worried about his next election. That seemed to be the case in one of his exit interviews this week when he expressed dismay over the iron-clad lock the Democrats have on state government these days. His primary concern is that they will be too free in their big spending ways and cripple their own economy with excessive regulations. Seriously? (Washington Times)
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown helped make his party even more powerful in California during the last eight years and now, less than a month before leaving office, he predicts that dominance will make it difficult for his successor to control Democrats’ hunger for spending and regulations.
The leader of the most populous state has kept Democratic lawmakers in check by limiting spending on social programs in favor of saving it to protect against a future economic downtown. He sometimes butted heads with legislative leaders, warning spending too much now could hurt taxpayers or require budget cuts later…
“I’d say we’re in for contentious times and for too many rules, too many constricting mandates and probably too much spending,” Brown told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday.
Brown has overseen one of the most liberal eras in that liberal state’s history when it comes to nanny state policies and taxes. But he does have one point here where he can claim some credit. California maintains a “rainy day fund” of cash reserves to stave off unexpected revenue shortfalls and Brown has been a champion of this policy. Last year he once again made the fund a priority, growing it to nearly eight billion dollars, and they are currently on track to max out the fund at more than thirteen billion by next year. To accomplish this, he’s vetoed a number of spending programs that were near and dear to the hearts of his progressive base.
So in that sense, Brown can indeed take credit for a bit of fiscal restraint and stability in the state budget. Beyond that, however, he’s been a progressive’s dream candidate, pushing liberal agenda items stressing environmental issues, social justice warfare and LGBTQ policies. All of that comes with a price tag of its own, however, and it’s not always measured in simple dollars and cents on the balance sheet.
California remains one of the highest cost of living states in the nation, leading to an exodus of working class, lower income residents. Affording a home or apartment there is a pipe dream for most who are not exceptionally high earners. The state has a homeless epidemic that seems beyond their ability to get under control. And let’s not even get started on their illegal immigrant situation.
It’s rather ironic to hear a politician like Brown lamenting how there will be excessive regulation and spending after he leaves. He definitely sowed the fields to create just such an environment while in office. Of course, these types of figurative deathbed confessionals are usually when such things come out, rather than when he could have actually done something about it.