SACRAMENTO – Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) today reacted to Governor Jerry Brown’s 2017 State of the State address, which he delivered to a joint session of the Legislature and the people of California this morning.
“The Sacramento River is currently surging with enough water every day to supply the needs of 150,000 families for an entire year. But instead of capturing that water in reservoirs, it’s being diverted into open fields or running uselessly out into the sea. I wish Governor Brown had called out the serious lack of water storage in this state and made a commitment to knock down any barrier to building more. We wouldn’t have to cut off water to farmers or fine people for their personal water use if we built the water infrastructure we desperately need.
“I’m glad that the state’s revenues are still healthy, but that will mean nothing if we don’t get our spending priorities straight and cut spending overall. Any bit of fiscal news that sounds promising for the state completely ignores the massive, looming catastrophe that is our public pension system. Our unfunded liability could be half a trillion dollars – trillion, not billion. That money we owe won’t get us anything new – not another road or dam or officer patrolling the streets. It’s for services we’ve already consumed. This debt won’t go away by ignoring it, and the Governor should develop a concrete plan to pay it down and rein in runaway pension benefits.
“The Governor discussed the state of the state, but what about the state of the taxpayer? California has some of the highest gas taxes and worst roads. That’s not a winning combination for taxpayers, but it seems to be the new California way. I hoped to hear more about the Governor’s vision for solving those massive problems without crushing taxpayers. How he can support the colossal waste of money that is High Speed Rail when our highways are falling apart?
“The federal government is going to be cutting taxes and building infrastructure across the country. California is always raising taxes to build almost nothing. Maybe it’s time the Golden State takes a lesson from the new Washington, D.C.”