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Antonovich on budget: 'The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead'

Posted: May 14, 2010 1:57 p.m.
Updated: May 14, 2010 2:06 p.m.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY - In anticipation of the Governor's May Revise budget, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich called on Governor Schwarzenegger and the state legislature to "wake up and face fiscal reality."

"The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead," he said. "Sacramento's addiction to reckless spending and one-night stands with vested interests have created multi-billion dollar budget deficits and an exodus of jobs.

"We must stop the reckless tax and spend behavior that led to this crisis. We can't start down the road to recovery without fiscal discipline and structural reform. The lame excuse that the 2/3 vote requirement to pass a budget or raise taxes is to blame -- 'the standard Sacramento line' -- is nonsense. California has some of the highest income, sales and business taxes in the nation.

"The other excuse -- that Prop. 13 created this problem by reducing revenues -- is also nonsense. Property tax revenues increased 600 percent from 1981 to 2007 ($6.4 billion to $43 billion) -- far higher than the combined rate of population growth and inflation over the same period.

"California -- once home to the nation's most vibrant farmlands and agricultural communities has become a wasteland of dust and double-digit unemployment as a result of environmental extremists' stopping water flow and water-rationing.

"To add insult to injury, our state has recently earned the 'Booby Prize' by Chief Executive Magazine. Six hundred CEOs were surveyed for its 2010 report card for business-friendliness, and California's high taxes and excessive regulations put us in the bottom 5 ranked states, along with New York, Michigan, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Top honors went to Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia."

More than 100 companies and corporate offices who have left or will leave the state include:

* NORTHROP GRUMMAN - From Los Angeles to Virginia

* HILTON HOTELS - From Beverly Hills to Virginia

* DENNY'S RESTAURANTS- From La Mirada to South Carolina

* DITECH - From Costa Mesa to Arizona

* FIDELITY NATIONAL - From Santa Barbara to Florida

* J.C. PENNEY - Moved call center from Sacramento to five other states

* FACEBOOK - From Palo Alto to Oregon

* BUCK KNIVES -- From San Diego to Idaho

* PREMIER INC. -- From San Diego to North Carolina

* CALIFORNIA CASUALTY GROUP - From San Mateo to Colorado. ("Wonder if they will call themselves ‘Colorado Casualty.'")

The governor and state legislature must make short-term and long-term changes that will put California back on the road to economic recovery by enacting the following reforms:

* A two-year budget

* Consolidation and elimination of governmental agencies to enhance productivity, efficiency and eliminate waste

* A part-time legislature

* Reform the civil service system

* Reform bankrupt pension system

* Ending the legislative practice of introducing legislation that costs more to pass than the recipient receives and or modify term limits

* Rainy day fund for emergencies

* Eliminating non-essential commissions and replacing salaried commissioners with $100 stipend per meeting


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