Count on California to Always Make the Wrong Choice

California_economic_regions_map_(labeled_and_colored).svgCalifornians had better take their state’s “economic recovery” and budget “surplus” with a grain — make that a pound — of salt. A current excess of cash means Governor Jerry Brown has several billion to burn, although he doesn’t mention the state is facing almost $200 billion in long-term, unfunded pension liabilities.  Admittedly, budgets and debt are two different things but the common denominator is that both have to be paid back. I might have $50 left in my pocket at the end of the month but it doesn’t mean I don’t also own $30,000 worth of credit card debt.

Yes, things have turned around for the Sunshine State. Several years ago California had a crushing deficit of about $26 billion.  As the recession abated and California raised taxes, the state now has cash to spend and the question is how to spread it around.

A reasonable and prudent legislature might (1) rebate several billion back to taxpayers because, after all, that body raised taxes and is now sitting on those revenues, or (2) it might save the money for a rainy day…like when the pension liabilities come knocking or, (3) it might invest in infrastructure such as schools, roads or bridges.

Ah, but the California Legislature has a much better idea.  The California Senate Appropriations Committee passed SB-4 to give health care to illegal aliens — 2 million of them — and the lawmakers want to use a big chunk of California’s surplus for that purpose.

California State Senator Ricardo Lara, a Democrat who introduced the bill, said it will cost about $400 million to $800 million annually. Others, including Breitbart News have estimated the cost at $1 billion per year based on data from the non-partisan California Legislative Analyst’s office.

Given that nothing in California is non-partisan and this issue involves illegal aliens — a population that is notoriously under-counted when it comes to extending benefits — double that estimate.

While Federal law prohibits illegal aliens from receiving federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, California is very good at getting around federal laws to help illegal aliens. SB-4 requires the state to apply for a federal waiver to offer “unsubsidized” healthcare to illegal aliens through Covered California. Once the state gets a waiver, health care subsidies will be provided, not by federal subsidies, but by state taxpayers because the Legislature is betting Gov. Brown wants to pay.  (Brown is currently “non-committal.”) But, if California is denied a waiver, the Legislature has a workaround for that also; in that instance, they intend to create a separate state exchange just for illegal aliens, again paid by state taxpayers.

So then, in addition to the existing sanctuary policies, anti-detainer legislation, in-state tuition and a bevy of other benefits and protections California extends to illegal aliens, the state will have added yet another massive incentive that will fuel additional flows of illegal aliens, costing taxpayers even more in health care, education and incarceration.

California has a knack for creatively side-stepping laws to accommodate its large population of residents who also side-stepped laws…immigration laws.  This has set in motion a perpetual cycle of incentives, need and state-sponsored gratification.

It is not sensible, sustainable or ethical but, by golly, it sure is California.

Additional Resources:

The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on California Taxpayers

How to take action in California

Cost of Illegal Immigration in California

avatar About Bob Dane

Bob has been with FAIR since 2006 serving as the organization's Press Secretary and Communications Director. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.


  1. avatar Herman says:

    The only thing Gov’ner JB and all his party are concerned with is bringing in as many people who will vote Democrat as possible. And most of those that come in illegally have no qualms about voting illegally, to maintain control by those who feed them and provide for all their needs. Brown is not worried about his welfare as he has enough money, he just wants the power and control to spread his socialist regime. Anyone who can read can see what success other major socialist societies have had, the USSR and China, etc. We are so blessed to have such a person in control.

  2. avatar Stephenie W. says:

    Let them burn . If no one has figured it out by now, they never will.

  3. avatar Janet Garland says:

    What the hell is wrong with Brown? Is that man nuts? The super train, letting every tom, Dick and harry in this state to take and take and leave us naturalized citizens with less and less. Instead of Putting the money in something, lets say a couple of desalination plants to help with our water issues. Or actually improve our very bad school system, or even try to get companies back in this state to help with the labor issues. That man and his father got us in debt before and is getting us in debt again. He loves to spend money on unimportant things that in my opinion ruin this state. I was born here and I have watched this state go down with every passing year. That man does not deserve to be governor of California. I could go on and on about brown but I think I made my point to all of you that voted for him again, again, and again. California is more in debt then every before.

    • avatar SweetSharron says:

      The California taxpayers have paid taxes for years for the making of desalination plants to protect us in time of drought. The desalination plants were never built or put into play and now we have a great big huge emergency in providing enough water to sustain the legal population and the illegal population. Why in the world would a government bring in millions and millions of people (illegal foreigners from all countries) to care for when they cannot take care of the ones who are here legally? And, then a “bullet train.” Why would taxpayers have to subsidize sometime they will never use or will never need? Planes are faster and would probably be a lot cheaper. You can see perfectly well that someone associated with the “great” bullet train contributed mass amounts of funding to the campaign of Jerry Brown, California’s #1 corrupt government– give me governor.

  4. avatar wmagg says:

    The rest of the U.S. still has the right to SUE the state of California for the the damage these illegals do once they leave that state. If an illegal leaves the state of California and then harms any citizen in another state the people should have the right to hold the state of California accountable for their complicity it the criminal act. If Cali continues to allow criminals to rule it’s state and control it’s legislation then they should NOT be allowed to inflect their stupidity on the rest of the nation.

  5. avatar David Smith says:

    The massive property tax increase in the last election dealt with the $26 billion deficit but it also added additional taxes on small business made retroactive 5 years. You thought you paid your taxes five, four, three, two and last year. Well, guess again. You also now owe the retroactive tax and they want it all now! Meanwhile, seeing a small surplus if they actually collect any of it, they are already spending it all on yet even more hairbrained programs. A good time for anybody with any money left to flee the State before they take it all.

  6. avatar Rossbach says:

    “I see the world in very fluid, contradictory, emerging, inter-connected terms, and with that kind of circuitry I just don’t feel the need to say what is going to happen or will not happen. – Jerry Brown

    This statement by the present Governor of California expresses the kind of thinking that helped to make that state what it is today.

  7. avatar Nanc Cuddeback says:

    So does this mean that California is no longer in the hole for $26 billion? I doubt it.

  8. avatar Jaimin says:

    Jerry Brown doing Great bcz California economy leading in the World….. Make btr for all Solutions. ☺

    • avatar Leland says:

      If they’re doing so “great” then why is their unemployment rate well above the national average?

    • avatar GG says:

      California is full of illegal aliens. I went there about 3 years ago and the beaches were dirty, there were Cholos fighting for a parking space at San Jose beach. Many of the vendors at the beach were illegal aliens selling their fruits and trinkets.
      I was going to buy some fruit and didn’t realize that the vendor was selling illegally until she told me to wait until the police passed. I told her that I wouldn’t buy anything from her because she was breaking the law and she got mad and told me that everyone does it. Illegal aliens bring their corrupt culture with them and expect Americans to except it. I will never go back to California. Governor Brown and all of his political hacks are screwing California and the American citizens. Brown and his cronies cater to the illegal alien invaders. Shame on them all.

  9. avatar Tpagrl7 says:

    You can’t fix stupid. The one benefit I see is all the illegals should be heading to California. The new Gold Rush.

  10. California Better save any Budget Surplus

    For more water.

  11. avatar Leland says:

    California’s much hyped economic recovery is just that. Hyped. In April their unemployment rate was 6.3%, while the US average was 5.4%. That in fact has been the case since 2008, because their monthly rate has been above the US rate by a considerable margin during those years. The nation’s worst rate, at 7.1%? Nevada, another state blessed with high numbers of illegals.

    When are all the riches promised by illegal advocates going to happen? So far, California is one of the most taxed states in the country, businesses are leaving, and their unemployment rates remain above the national average, meaning they are paying out unemployment checks and benefits to those out of work. A state bound and determined to drive itself over the cliff. And then they will come running to the federal government to address the consequences of their screw ups.


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    Count on California to Always Make the Wrong Choice