Document:California Press Release 28 August 1998 Pork-Filled State Budget

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Office of the Executive Director
11956 Riverside Dr., #206
Valley Village, CA 91607-3772
For immediate release: August 28, 1998
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 506-0200
Fax: (818) 506-0212


LOS ANGELES - How many words can be used to describe the new 1998-99 California budget? According to the Libertarian Party of California, start with "disaster," "debacle," "catastrophe," and "shipwreck."

"This budget is like the Titanic: enormous, extravagant, and headed for disaster," announced Libertarian state chair Mark Hinkle. "California taxpayers won't know what hit them."

Governor Pete Wilson signed the $72 billion budget into law one week ago, 52 days after the Constitutionally-mandated July 1 deadline.

Wilson has praised the budget for reflecting "the largest single-year tax reduction in state history" -- $1.4 billion through a reduction in the Vehicle License Fee (VLF), also known as the car tax. The VLF will be reduced by 25% starting January 1, 1999, followed by possible reductions in future years that could add up to $3.6 billion in savings.

But these tax cuts are nothing but a myth, according to Assemblyman Tom McClintock (R-Northridge). In a report issued from his office, McClintock demonstrated that in order to trigger all the potential budgetary cuts in the VLF, California taxpayers will need to pay $27 billion more in taxes than they paid in 1996.

"This is bureaucratic accounting at its worst," charged Hinkle. "Politicians are giving out bread crumbs with one hand while taking the whole loaf with the other. Californians should be outraged that anyone is praising this budget at all."

In fact, the budget reflects an overall increase in spending of $4.3 billion over last year, a staggering amount considering Wilson eliminated an additional $1.5 billion using his line item veto power.

"When you're spending $72 billion, throwing $1.5 billion overboard won't even begin to rock the boat," noted Hinkle.

A scan of the 684-page budget document revealed the following items that survived Wilson's veto pen:

  • $34,000 to support air traffic control tower operations at Lake Tahoe Airport, which currently does not provide any commercial airline services.
  • $30,000 for a swimming pool in the City of Linden.
  • $250,000 for lifeguard tower repair in the City of Huntington Beach.
  • $225,000 for a staff position at the California Audubon Society, a private non-profit organization.
  • $30,000 for a pre-school public TV project in Eureka.
  • $800,000 to the University of California for the "International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor Design Center"
  • $500,000 for viniculture and enology research, subject to private matching funds. Viniculture is the study of grapes. Enology is the study of winemaking.
  • $350,000 for the construction of a 10-acre Community Park and another $50,000 for refurbishing two tennis courts in King City, which has a population of 9,500. "That's $42.11 for every resident of King City," Hinkle pointed out.
  • $5 million for the Walt Disney Concert Hall at the Los Angeles Music Center.
  • $259,000 to the Department of Corrections for a Cowbird Trapping Program.
  • $720,000 to establish the California Commission on Improving Life Through Service.
  • $25,000 for painting the Governor's portrait.
  • $250,000 for a boating gas tax study to update a 1972 formula for calculating how much gas tax money the Department of Boating and Waterways is entitled to. "Now the politicians are spending tax money to figure out how best to divide tax money," said Hinkle.

And the clincher: $347.3 million for the Franchise Tax Board, the agency responsible for collecting taxes in California.

"That's just the tip of the iceberg. Our elected officials have herded Californians onto a budgetary Titanic and we're sinking fast," declared Hinkle.

"It's time we called the budget what it really is: a massive government spending plan that grossly oversteps the bounds of legitimate government function.

"The Libertarian Party of California calls on all Californians to write and phone your legislators and express your disapproval and indignation. Remember this waterlogged budget when you step into the ballot box in November. The overspending and overtaxing must end -- now.

"Libertarians are throwing you a lifeline -- grab it before we drown in a sea of taxes, spending, regulation, and special interest pork."