Governor Moonbeam shakes the begging cup

California's Governor Jerry Brown (aka Governor Moonbeam) has got a lot of nerve.  A case in point is his request of the federal government for $162 million to cover the recent damage from a series of intense winter storms.

And that was before the recent damage at the state's Oroville Dam.  While asking for emergency federal physical assistance (trucks, helicopters, tents, etc.) for the crisis is entirely appropriate, Moonbeam wants President Trump to use maybe $200 million of federal funds for repairs to the damaged structure, one owned and operated by the State of California, incidentally built by the current governor's father, Pat Brown, when he was governor in the 1960s.

If the political leadership of the State of California, all Democrats, were frugal stewards of the state's expenditures, with every tax dollar wisely allocated to pressing needs, perhaps a helping hand might be extended.  But let's take a look at the state government's 2016-2017 budget to see if some luxuries might be cut to cover the state's costs for flood and infrastructure repair expenses.

The first glaring item is that the state budgets $261 million for drought relief this fiscal year.  Hmmm?  Maybe that $22.7 million for emergency drinking water won't be needed.  And $30 million to remove dead trees from public lands?  How did Gaia do it before the State of California came along?  Actually, most of the line items in this category could be legitimate expenditures at some level for a state, but the $2 million for a "Save Our Water" publicity campaign looks like an easy cut.

Let's look farther afield for ways for California to pay for California's problems.  Crossing off one single "climate change" item would pretty much cover Brown's request.  The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is getting $363 million for "low carbon transportation."  This is largely subsidies for electric and fuel cell car purchases and heavy equipment upgrades, and even an Obama-style "cash for clunkers" program for state residents.  By hitting up Trump for money, Brown is telling us he thinks electric car subsidies are a better use of state taxpayers' money than emergency dam repairs.  Elon Musk probably doesn't own any dams.

One item that was popular with Democrat voters nationwide in the 2012 election was Obamaphones.  California will now subsidize your cell service, too.

Lifeline Program. The budget includes $483 million (Universal LifeLine Telephone Service Trust Administrative Committee Fund) for the California Lifeline Program, which provides discounted telephone services to low–income households. This amount is roughly the same as the revised 2015–16 spending amount, but reflects a more than 150 percent increase in spending relative to 2013–14 spending ($192 million). The recent increases in the costs for the program are largely driven by an increase in program enrollment associated with expanding the program in 2014 to include wireless telephone service.

I hate to get too libertarian, but spending $33.1 million to hire 134 permanent positions to implement new medical marijuana laws seems unnecessary, given the longstanding robust free market in the commodity.  Just walk a block on Haight Street in San Francisco to find out how robust.  I will grant that the $700,000 for research on better pesticides for marijuana cultivation is a constructive expenditure, useful worldwide.  Thanks, California Dudes!

Frankly, President Trump should just say no to cash for California.  The state's political leadership is like that drunken relative who always has a carton of Camels and a quart of Jim Beam in the house but hits you up for money for milk for his kids.  Time for some tough love for the Golden State from the rest of the country.

Joseph Somsel is a former California citizen and taxpayer.

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