California Budget Holed By Unmentionable Immigration Iceberg
With the entire state of
California rapidly on its way to join the Titanic at the
bottom of a fiscal ocean, the political elite of the
state is busily engaged in arguing which party should
start rearranging the deck chairs.
The Washington Post this
reports that California is "on the brink of a
fiscal disaster," and as of the time of the story,
only "hours remain to solve the $38 billion
Of course it occurs to no one to
look for what is without doubt one of the major
underlying reasons for the boondoggle: Mass immigration.
The immediate problem in
California is indeed political. The Democrats, led by
Gov. Gray Davis, want to raise taxes, and the
Republicans don`t. Under state law, a compromise had to
be reached by midnight last Monday or else the state
government would have to start "cutting billions of
dollars in payments to its agencies and its contractors
in July—and could run out of money by August."
The first to go would be some
30,000 state employees, and their chief,
Perry Kenny of the California State Employees
Association, moans, "It looks bleak. This is the
biggest hole we`ve ever been in, and no one seems to
find a way out. We`re all sweating bullets."
Among the state employees who may
soon be jobless is Governor Davis himself, for whose
recall some 400,000 voters have already signed a
The immediate solution to the
immediate problem is simple enough—either tax or cut—but
that`s not a real solution at all, which is why most
politicians of each party would be perfectly satisfied
with one or the other.
Ten years ago another governor saw
what the problem was.
Back then Gov.
Pete Wilson faced a similar budget crisis and a
political grave similar to the one Mr. Davis faces. In
his budget for 1993-94, Gov. Wilson pointed out that
foreign immigration accounted for some 55 percent of the
state`s population increase in the 1980s and that
"the immigration trends of the 1980s have already had a
substantial impact on state and local government
finances"—for the worse.
Among the biggest costs to the
state due to immigration, the governor cited "K-12
education services provided to undocumented immigrants
and especially to the
citizen children of undocumented and
legalized immigrants" (that is, illegals and
illegals who had received
amnesty, such as the one the Bush administration is
said to be contemplating today).
Other costs deriving from
immigration came from the state`s health insurance
"refugee, IRCA and OBRA recipients," "substantial
costs for incarcerating undocumented immigrants in state
prisons" (at that time 12 percent of the state
prison population), and welfare costs for immigrants of
one sort or another ("about 22 percent of statewide
AFDC caseload"). The total cost of immigration to
the state was about $5 billion.
Partly because of what he had come
to grasp about the dangers mass immigration presented to
his state (and his own political future), Mr. Wilson
endorsed the state referendum measure known as
Proposition 187, which would have prohibited most public
services for illegal aliens and their children.
Despite massive opposition from
Hispanic Lobby, the
Treason Lobby, and the teachers and public employees
who are now whining about losing their jobs because of
the current budget crisis, Prop 187 passed
overwhelmingly—and Gov. Wilson was
re-elected by some 55 percent of the vote and
carried at least five Republican congressional
candidates in 1994, the year the
GOP captured Congress.
Much of what Gov. Wilson warned
about with respect to the impact of mass immigration on
his state was confirmed by the National Academy of
report on immigration four years later. It
found that the fiscal impact of immigration on
California amounted to an
estimated "net fiscal burden of $1,178 per
native-headed California household, again measured in
1996 dollars" for the 1994-95 fiscal year.
For the nation as a whole, the NAS
study found that the net fiscal drain on American
taxpayers from mass immigration was $166 to $226 per
household, adding some $15 billion to $20 billion to the
national tax burden.
Of course the mild restrictions
Gov. Wilson supported in Prop 187 were soon overturned
in the courts. The
Republican Party, especially in California,
abandoned immigration reform completely and boasted
of supporting mass immigration.
Meanwhile, California, which in
Pete Wilson`s day had only 6 million immigrants, now has
And it occurs to no one in the
political leadership of
either party to point to how mass immigration has
helped push the state to the edge of bankruptcy.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
[Sam Francis [email
him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection
of his columns,