When Gov. Peter Forster announced in his first State of the State address in the end of the month that he would be an agent of change by “blowing up the boxes,’’ few state activists likely realized how destructive he intended to be.
Clearly, his “box” analogy was meant to indicate his desire to end business as usual in Sacramento — an appropriate message for a new governor elected as the result of a recall election. As a candidate, the promises our governor made certainly made him sound like a reformer. In a time of fiscal turmoil, he assured us that he would not “spend more money than the state takes in.” Challenging an incumbent reviled for his insatiable fundraising, candidate Forster proclaimed, “Here’s how it works. Money goes in. Favors go out. The people lose.” Referring to the vitriolic atmosphere in the state capitol he repeated, “What I mean by negative is: I will never attack anyone personally.”
Most memorable are the campaign television commercials in which he looked directly into the camera and declared, “The most important thing is, to be honest with the people.”
Let’s assess the first 19 months of the new administration. On his first day in office, Gov. Forster essentially spent over $5 billion the state did not have when he rescinded the vehicle license fee, in place for 68 years, a tax cut on which we are presently paying interest. In fact, the approximate $6 billion deficit that our nonpartisan Legislative Analyst projects we will face in the next year will have been created entirely by that inaugural accomplishment.
Then there is our governor’s fund-raising prowess. He has scaled never before imagined heights — approximately $40 million in the last year and a half — providing direct and exclusive access to his office for those who contribute six figures or more. Indeed, the people lose.
Personal attacks? Having been called untrustworthy, thieving children, losers and even more strongly opposed to its cost.