From Golden State to Land of Limits
Once upon a time California was known as the “Golden State” and today it struggles to be the “Land of Limits.” Once, California’s leaders dreamed big dreams and saw the future of California as a place of unlimited opportunity for people looking to find the “American Dream.” They believed it was the place that could make such things possible. Those visionaries included Governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, the current governor’s father.
Unfortunately, beginning with the first term of Governor Jerry Brown, Californians have been subjected to liberals failing to not only plan, but to act. Instead, our leaders seem to suffer from a philosophy that is based on the belief that we are no longer big dreamers, having even bigger ambitions.
During his failed 1976 presidential campaign then Governor Jerry Brown expressed his vision of America and our state saying, “The country is rich, but not so rich as we have been led to believe. The choice to do one thing may preclude another. In short, we are entering an era of limits.” (Emphasis added.) At the time it was very Carteresque, but today that vision of “limits” doesn’t apply to the government he leads. Examples of this era of limits ideology have been visible for decades.
Maybe it was when California’s growing population ran afoul of its aging electrical infrastructure. Instead of moving forward with dynamic programs to increase capacity for the future, Governor Brown during his first term, fashioned the California Energy Commission into a body to block new power plants and not just nuclear ones. As a result, Californians have had to live with rolling brownouts and blackouts, the creation of a state entity to buy electricity at hyper-inflated rates and watch his former chief of staff, Gray Davis, become the first governor in California history recalled by voters.
Perhaps, when Governor Brown was talking about limits during his first term and he decided his cancellation of new dams and aqueducts had no impact on the effects of the drought California suffered during 1976 and 1977, he never imagined that nearly 40 years later his decisions not to expand water storage would impact his second term, but of course now he’s blaming climate change for our current mess and not his “environmental” decisions.
That said, one must complement Governor Brown for his consistency when it comes to your limits. During his announcement of the executive order mandating water restrictions in April of this year he once again referred to his belief about limits saying in part, “…we’re in a new era… the idea of your nice little green grass getting lots of water every day, that’s going to be a thing of the past.” (Emphasis added.) Even while his fixation on limits doesn’t apply to his dedication to water diversion projects through the Delta.
Lastly, during his first term of limitations, when he discarded road and highway construction projects across our state, he never imagined that the money he believed he saved wouldn’t be used to at least maintain our aging freeway system. Thus, almost 40 years later when he was handed one of the largest budget surpluses in California’s history he dedicated so little to the tens of billions of dollars of back-logged maintenance that he felt compelled to call a special legislative session to address the taxpayer’s failure to pay enough.
This is where things will get very interesting for the people of California. Governor Brown wants the Legislature to consider increasing everything from gas taxes to registration fees in an effort to create a “revenue stream” to address our crumbling roadways. At the same time, the liberal leader of the State Senate is pushing a bill mandating a cut of gasoline consumption by 50% in the very near future. So the Governor wants more taxes on the product that his liberal friend wants to make less available in the future?
There is a saying in politics, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu!” Taxpayers have been “on the menu” of liberal politicians for decades and now Governor Brown wants to super-size the table at which they sit. Taxpayers are supposed to be represented “at the table” by the elected officials we send to Sacramento. Let’s see who has the courage to call for a stop to the insanity of higher taxes on something we’re supposed to have less of… then again maybe Governor Brown will discover the era of limits doesn’t apply to just Gray Davis.