Schwarzie: "The public debt just for government employee benefits has grown so large that it is threatening to crush our private sector"
California's lame-duck governor has written an op-ed for the L.A. Times advocating budget cuts and pension reform, not new taxes, to close the Golden State's latest $20 billion budget shortfall. Excerpt:
[H]igher taxes and more debt do not grow jobs. They kill them. Let's also not forget that in last May's special election, the voters overwhelmingly rejected higher taxes. That is why I am fighting for a budget that cuts spending, does not raise taxes and finally forces government to live within its means. […]
We must also reform California's pension system for government employees, whose costs to taxpayers for just one of our major pension funds have skyrocketed from $150 million a year a decade ago to almost $4 billion this year. Private-sector workers already struggle to pay for their own retirement. Now they are being forced to pay more and more for the government workers' retirement, at the very time their own retirement accounts have declined. What is worse, in five years those pension costs will grow to well over $10 billion per year, and keep growing from there.
Over the next 30 years, the state will spend hundreds of billions of dollars just to service existing retirement benefit debt — further hammering taxpayers and crowding out funding for education, infrastructure, healthcare and other critical programs. In fact this year, for the first time ever, we will spend more on government employee retirement benefits than on higher education.
Whole thing here.
Schwarzenegger, who really should have been Chris Christie but wasn't, has had a gubernatorial career shaped like some kind inverse barbell: Great (at least rhetorically) at the beginning and end, but unfortunately the bad stuff in the middle weighs the rest of the thing down. Reason on the man here.