Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Governor Brown & High Speed Rail

I think Governor Brown should face a recall over his continued support of the High Speed Rail project. The state has a continuing large deficit and supposedly can't pay for what many consider essential government services, yet he steadfastly supports HSR.

He'll try and mitigate concerns over its cost by saying he'll use so called Cap- and- Trade fees to pay for at least part of the funding. Without getting into of Cap- and Trade fees themselves, suffice it to say they're a new tax.

I might not object to new or increased taxes if they were being used to close the budget deficit. In the case of funding HSR, however, he's essentially using new taxes to fund not only increased, but new spending.

It's one thing to support new taxes to close the deficit and provide essential government services. Using those taxes to raise the level of spending- as he proposes for- is over the top, especially given the financial shape California is in.

This is nuts, and with 2/3 of the electorate now turning against this HSR boondoggle, a recall of the Governor for his support of it might just be successful.

The Los Angeles Times' Steve Lopez has a fairly even- handed look at the HSR issue.


At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe I recall that the high speed rail was on the ballot and voters approved spending the funds. Maybe that is the problem - that JB can't just cut the funding for it if it was a voter approved spending.

Voters approve lots of spending without ever thinking about where the money will actually come from - actually out of our pockets in taxes but if it is not on a bill they receive they think it is free money.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

For some time I've been screaming that we should stop the sale of nearly all unsold bonds the state has. Some have said they can't do that. Others, who made more sense to me, said the legislature could if it was deemed necessary.

Regardless, while voters did narrowly approve the HSR bond, even many of those that voted for the bond measure are having second thoughts, especially after the price tag was raised to possibly over 100 billion from the original 33 billion. And a strong majority would like to vote again on the bonds now, with at least 2/3 saying they'd oppose it.

The Governor is well aware of that but seems to feel this is some sort of legacy builder for him, along with whatever money he can throw to his favorite interests that will benefit from the project.

At 9:07 PM, Blogger Ernie Branscomb said...

Fred, Some history for you...

What is Proposition 1A?

Proposition 1A is the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act approved by voters on November 4, 2008. Voters were asked the following: “To provide Californians a safe, convenient, affordable, and reliable alternative to driving and high gas prices; to provide good-paying jobs and improve California's economy while reducing air pollution, global warming greenhouse gases, and our dependence on foreign oil, shall $9.95 billion in bonds be issued to establish a clean, efficient high-speed train service linking Southern California, the Sacramento San Joaquin Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area, with at least 90 percent of bond funds spent for specific projects, with federal and private matching funds required, and all bond funds subject to independent audits?"

Proposition 1A was placed on the ballot by an uncommon bipartisan coalition of more than two thirds of the Legislature as well as strong support by Governor Schwarzenegger. Assembly Bill No. 3034 which enacted Proposition 1A was authored by Assembly Members Galgiani and Ma, with Assembly Members Davis and Parra as “Principal coauthors."

At 6:53 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Ernie, that's the description of the Proposition as written by proponents and approved by the Secretary of State. It was meant to encourage people to vote for it. Much doubt has been cast on those claims since then- even more than before- never mind the cost estimate tripling.

Keep in mind that just over 50% of the people approved 1a. Polls show 2/3 or more of the voters opposing it now and wanting to vote on it again.


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