Boondoggle Projects Threaten California with Third World Status

-By Martha Montelongo

Gov. Jerry Brown has an interesting definition of “third world.”

In an interview with a San Francisco radio station last week, Brown said California would become “a Third World country” unless the state builds a ghastly $100 billion high-speed rail line that’s been fraught with mismanagement, cost overruns and shaky ridership projections.

It’s an odd claim, considering many third-world nations are characterized by crumbling infrastructure, failed boondoggle projects and constant budgetary trouble. In much of the third-world, a new leader will pour massive amounts of a nation’s fortune into a single prestige project, only to have it fail when poor planning, bureaucratic incompetence and malfeasance slowly eat up all the funds.

By this definition, California seems currently on track to become America’s third-world state. Just like high-speed rail, the same spending lobby is promoting a nearly $1 billion per year tax hike so that a politically appointed panel can dole out favors to cronies. The $1 billion in new taxes under Proposition 29 goes into a lockbox that only this politically-influenced commission can access. Not even in cases of waste or abuse can the Governor or the Legislature make any changes! Proposition 29 sounds like it was plucked straight from the playbook of some Latin American dictator or Middle Eastern sheikh.

Jerry Brown ought to find the nearest dictionary. Pouring money into boondoggle projects while neglecting vital services like education and public safety is the surest way for California to join the third-world. Until California can figure out how to pay for what it already has, voters need to say no to more new spending.

(Published with permission)