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California imposes some of the highest income and sales taxes in the nation, and Governor Jerry Brown’s own budget team says the state could face a budget deficit of $4 billion by the summer of 2020. Even so, the governor maintains the statist view that there is always money for everything. The Golden State has an attorney general, Xavier Becerra, but is now hiring former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s law firm, at $25,000 a month, to fight the policies of the incoming Trump administration.
As one legislator noted, the 1,592 attorneys and legal staff at California’s Attorney General’s Office are apparently not up to the task. Beyond the waste and redundancy, Holder seems a rather curious choice. As U.S. Attorney General, Holder was fond of harassing the press, seizing phone records of AP reporters. Holder also managed the “Fast and Furious” firearms sting, a failure by his own admission, and when he failed to turn over documents he became the first U.S. Attorney General to be held in contempt of Congress. Even so, the governor wants to hire him, and the dynamic is not new for California.
Unsatisfied with Richard Nixon’s HUD policies, the Golden State created the California Housing Finance Agency in 1973. When President George W. Bush declined to fund embryonic stem-cell research, California Democrats, led by real-estate tycoon Robert Klein, launched the initiative that created the $3 billion California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which in more than a decade has failed to produce any of the promised cures and therapies.
Governor Jerry Brown, who wants to spend $15 billion on diversion tunnels, took the reactionary pose to a new level. “If Trump turns off the satellites,” the governor said, “California will launch its own damn satellites.” The governor didn’t say what the satellites would cost, but he still believes that in California there is always money for everything.