Lockyer: Let further cuts start in GOP districts

State lawmakers who want an all-cuts budget because less government is better should get their wish starting with their own districts, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer said this morning.

Lockyer, visiting the Bay Area News Group-East Bay’s editorial board, said that when these lawmakers – many of whom already serve the state’s most recession-stricken areas – start hearing from their constituents about even deeper cutbacks in police and fire services, public schools and universities, social services and the like, they’ll soon think the better of stonewalling a public vote on Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to extend current tax rates for five more years.

It’s a put-your-money – or lack thereof – where-your-mouth-is tactic.

Short of even more painful cuts atop those already signed into law, Lockyer sees no end to the current deadlock, he said.

Refuting the common “it’s a spending problem, not a revenue problem” meme, Lockyer noted that under Gov. Ronald Reagan, general fund spending amounted to about $5.02 for every $100 of wealth in the state. If Brown’s tax extensions are enacted, the rate would be about $5.05 per $100 – basically flat since 40 years ago.

He came loaded for bear with a packet of graphs and charts showing the huge spending reductions that an all-cuts budget would entail, and as well as tracking various scenarios under various kinds of spending caps. The long and short of it is that Brown’s plan would allow the most growth in general-fund spending over the next five years; about 4.7 percent; a spending cap based only on personal income growth would allow about 4.4 percent growth; a spending cap based on growth in population and the Consumer Price Index would allow for about 2 percent growth; an all-cuts budget espoused by Republicans would allow for about 1.7 percent growth; and ACA 4, a rainy-day-fund expansion measure passed by the Legislature last year and now awaiting voter approval, would shrink spending by about 0.7 percent.

“The dirty little secret is that neither D’s nor R’s know what creates jobs,” he said, noting that Democrats tend toward dumping more money into public spending while Republicans look to “make the rich richer.” There’s less evidence for the latter’s efficacy, he said, but both reflect more ideology than actual track record.

He said although he favored moving in January to put a tax-extension measure on the ballot without Republican votes, he understands why Brown might’ve felt “the optics necessitated the exercise” – an effort to allow for bipartisanship, even if Republicans “were always going to find an out” from signing onto the plan.

“The people who want less government ought to be at the front of that line to get less government,” he said, even as Brown “has to keep doing what he’s doing, keep engaging Republicans.” The task is to “have people try to understand what an all-cuts budget means, in very specific terms.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Publius

    I call first in line for less government!

    Will I get a tax break? Will I have to pay taxes at all? Maybe we can do a pay as you go type deal?

    This rhetoric is worthless and divisive, and doesn’t do anyone any good. How can a guy like this be a perennial incumbent on the Ca. political scene?

    Bill please drop the party talking points bulletin and listen carefully. PEOPLE WHO WANT LESS GOVERNMENT ARE NOT THE PROBLEM. THE MAJORITY OF US GIVE WAY MORE THAN WE TAKE. WE ARE THE ANSWER.


    The jockey has become to big for the horse. This horse is tired, it is time for the jockey to lose weight.

  • Kathyanne

    Publius, Your post implies that only individuals with property and money deserve to vote. And that the most vulnerable of Americans deserve to be disenfranchised. My reaction? Worthless and divisive rhetoric.

  • John Kern

    Thank you for your commonsense remarks. I think you are right to say neither party knows how to create jobs. And neither party distinguishes good jobs with a living wage and retirement security from “greeter at WalMart jobs”.

    Our revenue stream is overly dependent on personal income tax and capital gains tax. Therefore, just when we need government the most, we get a “revenue crisis” and we subject the government to chaos and instability. Think furloughs, budget cuts and layoffs. Just when government needs to step up the most it has been hobbled the most.

    I can’t believe how many want to blame government workers and the pension system we started and contribute to with every paycheck, at about the same rate that private employees contribute to Social Security. Pension reform has nothing to do with balancing our state budget (although it has become a problem in some local agencies which made unrealistic assumptions and did not plan for the rainy day.)


    Hooray for you!! Start the cuts with those that want them, makes sense to me.

  • CarolineSF

    How is it divisive? If some people claim they don’t need government services, and put up obstacles restricting services to everyone, let those who put up the obstacles do without first. We know that California’s most conservative, anti-tax counties actually consume the MOST in public services (hello, Modoc), so shouldn’t they be willing to demonstrate that they’re as strong and independent as they claim to be?

  • Alice Ropchan

    I agree with #4 –

  • Rudi Taft


    Where in Publius’s post does it imply “that only individuals with property and money deserve to vote.”

    It doesn’t say that at all. It says the majority provide, which is true. Disprove it and I’ll eat this article.

    And Lockyer has sucked off the government teat for too long that his lips are chapped.

    Get a grip and get a clue.


  • Drewsky

    What Publius doesn’t realize is that he MAY BE getting a tax cut. That’s what this issue is: whether or not to extend the previous tax increase for 5 more years. If it doesn’t happen, Publius will see his taxes drop (if ever so slightly) and therefore will not need any services. I think that’s a great idea !

  • TylerSmith

    publius, please run for a state office. You have my vote!
    Crazed Dems seem unable to believe that not every Californian who pays taxes is a mega-wealthy corporate piggy bank. Lots of us are barely keeping our heads (and YOURS if you’re one of California’s many tax-sucking parasites)above water.

  • Rick H.

    All the productive people in CA should just leave it to this scumbag and the morons who elected him.

  • Kevin

    I’ll take that deal!

    Just make sure all the tax INCREASES go to those Libs who complain that taxes “just aren’t high enough”…

  • Publius

    My post has nothing to do with disenfranchising those with little or no material wealth. Kathyanne wages the same rhetorical war as most lefty Dems, Rich vs Poor. I am sure I will be labeled a racist next. Broken record, look where it has gotten us. California is dying.

    I personally feel it is my duty as an American citizen to pay taxes. It is my right to have a say in my own governance, and how my tax dollars are used. For Bill Lockyer to say that those who do not want an over active government should forego basic government services is a sham. His attempt to marginalize those that disagree with his ideology is politics at it’s worst. This State deserves better. We have a problem in this once great state, and more government is not the answer.

  • kellis

    If only GOP districts were allowed to take that deal. Close all the abortion clinics, homeless shelters, and food kitchens. Allow hospitals and schools to refuse service to illegals and Medicaid recipients, discontinue sending food stamps, free school lunches, and section 8 housing assistance to residents of GOP districts, etc.

    Shut down EVERY social spending program in GOP districts and those neighborhoods would only improve over time as the freeloaders left. We’ll spend our returned tax money on roads, police, fire, parks, and libraries.

  • tasomne

    Publius gives us only the empty strawman. No one is proposing increasing the size of government. No one is proposing a dramatic increase in state or local taxes. My state and local taxes are a smaller proportion of income than they were under Brown’s daddy…you know, the good old days. The only question is whether the people should be able to vote on a small tax increase or whether the politicians should decide our fate in the back rooms of Sackatomato.

  • Chuckie

    Let the tax increases begin in Democratic districts! Saddle them with the debt from years of Democratic Party mismanagement in this state. I’m tired of having poilticians tell me how they can fix our problems, when they created them in the first place. To misquote Pogo, “we have met the enemy and it is him!”

  • excaliburr

    Actually, I blame neither party, but the voters, for voting for proposition after proposition and not thinking about financing for all these mandates. The Dept. of Fish and Game is a perfect example. You’d be amazed at the tasks they’re required by law to perform, but for which there is NO MONEY BUDGETED. I’m sure this is true of many state agencies, but that’s the one I’m familiar with. Selling bonds is great until the interest payments come home to roost, and now our credit rating is in the toilet.

    I left California two years ago for just this reason. Voters voting for things like a high speed rail system which the state simply can’t afford. My current state has no state income tax at all and does a better job providing for its residents that CA does!

  • Thirdeye

    I’m all for that, Chuckie. But I’m willing to bet that once the reality of more cuts set in, Republicans would try to get their paws on the revenue.

  • dru

    Minus 2 yrs of Assembly control, for 40 years the Democrats have controlled the CA legislature. Assembly and Senate. Think about that. What has such loyalty gotten the people of this state?

  • rd5700

    This kind of immature thinking and poisonous partisan rhetoric is exactly what has led us to where we are today. The flip side of this idea is to have all Democrats be hit with a significant tax increase. Interesting idea but equally ridiculous.

    Why can’t these elected adults in Sacramento sit down and discuss (not argue) a realistic solution? Instead while they run their mouths with childish ideas like this, our once great state continues its steep downward spiral.

    Thanks for your foolish leadership example Bill.

  • I would like to get back to Lockyer’s original premise: Let further cuts start in GOP Districts.

    I think an honorable thing to do is for Legislators who espouse an “all cuts” budget should by example.

    First, they should close their in-District office(s). They are paid for by tax’s that they abhor but consume neverthless. They can keep them open with their own personal funds. Any personnel that staff the home office must also be paid for by personal funds as well. Legislators cannot use donated campaign funds, thereby lessening the influence peddling they also abhor.

    Second, each legislator may have only up to two staff for work-related tasks. These two may be paid for by tax dollars. However, any staff employed beyond the maximum of two must be paid for out of personal funds.

    Third, their other work related expenses (Sacramento residence, airfare,car, cell phone, per diem, etc. would be modified as follows:Base salary–daily rate after adjustment for new work year described below. Residence–if renting, a subsidy of 50% of documented rent and utilities up to a cap of $1,000/mo.; Airfare–no change. Coach/economy class only unless using earned upgrades; automobile allowance–eliminate. Replace with work mileage atIRS rate and following IRS guidelines; cell phone purchase and billing for work related business only; per diem– eliminate per diem and replace with reimbursement. Reimbursement for meals shall be for actual cost and only if accompanied by a receipt. Reimbursement only on work days (as defined below) when physically in the Capitol. Maximum per work day of up to $75 if accompanied with a receipt. Work week–Monday thru Friday in the Capitol doing the people’s work. Current pracice is Monday thru Thursday with Friday expected to be an in-district office day. End of session intermissions of whatever length are unpaid as are all holidays. up to 12 paid sick days and two personal necessity days per year. No carry-over and accumlation from year as accumulation would result in an unfunded liability that would be paid for by our children and our children’s children. Health benefits–taxpayer payer paid for a three tiered HMO or PPO with UCR co-pays for meds and office visits, family dental, and vision. Retirement–Employer match 401K plan up to 4% of base salary. No separate pension system.

    There could be more, but you get the general idea. The beauty of my proposal is that each legislator can do most any and all of these things unilaterally. No legislation needed. Show we, the people, that you are a genuine contributor in the cause of not raising taxes.

    One final, non-related item: I would eliminate term limits.

    So how about it, you conservators, and pledge signers of taxpayer dollar! Who amonst you will be the first to voluntarily implement this?

  • True

    I will strongly agree with post#16. We blame the people running the program we voted for. Go figure.

    I for one would like to see CARB go. I’d rather see the Federal Govt madating pollution laws etc…

    I’d like to see less traffic cops or highway patrols and more criminal investigator/officers.

    I’d like to see teachers getting paid more… I would leave my current job to teach math and science if it happens.

    STOP VOTING for things we can’t afford. Stop asking government to do everything for you. The more you ask and complain, the more goverment has to grow. Nothing is free, someone has to tend to the task.

  • jose

    Let the tax increase start first in Lockyer’s district.

  • hello

    @Jose: Lockyer is the State Treasurer. His “district” is the State of California.

  • Just like Lockyer to have a sissy fit and start using government to punish people for not wanting to where the same dress he does.

  • Incredulous

    The legislature owns the finances of the state. The Democrats have owned the legislature for decades. Now, the Democrats are threatening to disenfranchise anyone who objects to their policies? Unbelievable!
    I say go ahead and take away state services, but do not expect any tax revenue from districts where you do that. Those revenues should stay in the district to pay for services the state no longer supplies. Maybe we can finally get rid of the greedy, incompetent boobs that have run California’s economy into the ground.

  • Incredulous

    I would also like to remind Mr. Lockyer that he is supposed to be working for ALL of California, not just those in his party…

  • TAS

    Hey Rick H,

    “All the productive people in CA should just leave it to this scumbag and the morons who elected him.”

    Please go Galt! Please. Just GO!

  • murphstahoe

    Sure, raise the taxes in the “Lib” districts and cut them in the “GOP” districts. Don’t cry when we don’t let your GOP kids attend Cal Berkeley.

  • Dear Angry White Tea-Baggers and Koch Suckers.
    I’m so pleased to hear you suggest that California should be abandoned. I understand Arizona, Somalia and Mexico are more suited to your thoughtlessness. Please go. Now. Don’t let the door hit you in the “Left Behind.”

  • Elwood

    I’ve known Lockyer since he was an aide to the late Assemblyman Bob Crown.

    The only change is that he is an even bigger pompous ass now than he was then.

  • Joe

    “Lockyer: Let further cuts start in Black districts”
    “Lockyer: Let further cuts start in Hispanic districts”
    “Lockyer: Let further cuts start in Immigrant neighborhoods”
    “Lockyer: Let further cuts start in homosexual neighborhoods”

    Suddenly it all becomes clear.

    Is this what’s next if blacks, Hispanics, recent immigrants, or homosexuals don’t vote as a block, in the way that Lockyer demands of them?

    What about freedom of speech, freedom of association, and equal protection under the law?

    While Lockyer and his cronies may be turning California into a third world economy, there is no need for us to allow them to turn us into a Banana Republic where political dissenters are marginalized and criminalized.

    Lockyer needs to apologize, and resign – he is clearly unfit to hold public office.