Why California’s Dams are Breaking

Oroville Dam 2Here’s a study you may find interesting:

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Among all states, California spends the lowest percent of its budget on infrastructure, according to a report last year from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

The Golden State invested only 3.3 percent of its budget in 2013 on infrastructure, one of only three states that spent less than 4 percent. Texas, the most comparable state in size and population, spent almost twice as much at 6.4 percent.

We can easily see the result of this neglect. California’s roads and bridges are among the worst in the country, and the Oroville dam’s two spillways, when finally called upon to work in February, were quickly rendered useless, creating the potential for a devastating flood.

Incredibly, the state was warned in 2005 that the emergency spillway at Oroville was totally inadequate. Three environmental groups pointed out that because the spillway is a hill of bare dirt and not covered in concrete, that dirt would quickly erode as soon as water hit it, creating a potential lake-draining catastrophe. And that is exactly what happened, forcing officials to evacuate nearly 200,000 people downstream.

Despite the warning, the state chose to do nothing for 12 years. For that matter, the state has done little over the years to capture more water to supply the increasing population. That means a good deal of the heavy rainfall from this winter is draining into the ocean.

To his credit, Gov. Jerry Brown did admit recently that the state has not spent what it should on infrastructure and there is now $187 billion worth of unmet needs. Continued failure to invest, he said, could lead to an “apocalypse and absolute disaster.”

And to their credit, the state’s business community has long pushed for more infrastructure investment, seeing it as the foundation for a sound economy.

So now everyone agrees that something needs to be done. The only real question is how it will all be paid for. You can almost predict where this is headed: The legislature will push for some kind of tax increase. Even though the state has a record general fund budget and even though legislators have diverted money from infrastructure for years, the statehouse gang will cry that they just don’t have the money to pay for it all. Lack of money. That’s the problem, they’ll say.

Well, here’s another study you may find interesting:

Among all states, California collects the sixth-highest amount of tax money on a per capita basis, according to the Tax Policy Center, a left-leaning think tank.

In other words, the state already taxes its people and businesses heavily. Money is not the problem. Spending is the problem.

ditor and publisher of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.

This piece was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily


  1. Infrastructure should be a major budget item, not 3.3%

  2. As long as the citizens of California keep electing Democrats, we will always have this problem. Where’s your money going? A lot of it is going to illegals so they not only stay here but also have enough to send money back home. Another is this Sanctuary Cities where criminals have free reign. Infrastructure spending, instead of using it for our roads and dams are being used for walking trails, horse trails, bicycle paths. None are used for its real intention. Heard on the radio that Ca. Congress wants more gas tax and registration fees.
    I say get rid of these people and get more business sense people up there.

  3. “Money is not the problem, spending is the problem” hits the nail squarely on the head. As long as Californians keep voting for the same Party and expecting a different outcome the State is doomed. The Nation as a whole totally ignored California and it’s idea of a leadership when it elected a businessman to run the Country instead of a Politician. The Liberals and Rinos are on the warpath because their Tax and Spend ways are being attacked by good old fashioned common sense and that is totally lacking on the Left Coast.

  4. Gotta Gedada Displace says

    The problem is Stupidity. The Morons in elective office are only reflective of those who ELECTED THEM. They all continue to breed. Escape while you can.

  5. Dams crumbling, streets and highways with more potholes than good pavement, bridges in danger of collapse; but we’ve got the best compensated public-employees in the nation, all with Platinum retirement benefits drawing from funds that are woefully underfunded by approx $241B – all of which must be made up by taxpayers unless SMOD arrives and pensions can be cut to reflect the reality of funding, and employee contributions.

  6. I’m thinking that it can get worse. Since we taxpayers are considered a bottomless pit of money, there is very little hope that anything will be fixed. ‘They’ just take the money & spend it elsewhere.

  7. Patton'sGhost says

    Taking our money and running…
    Six more weeks… Fewer if I can swing it…
    The death rattle is beginning….

  8. “Gov. Jerry Brown did admit recently”
    Brown is not a new politician on the scene, he’s overseen four decades of neglect while elevating public employee unions above the purpose of state government itself.

    This man is the exact opposite of what I understand his father was.

  9. sisyphus969 says

    Here you state that CA “collects the sixth-highest amount of tax money on a per capita basis”, in another article it is stated that CA has the highest poverty rate of any state in the country – factoring in cost of living. So, it would seem, taking these two facts into consideration, the majority of the tax burden in CA is in fact falling on a much smaller percentage of the people – making it far more likely that CA has perhaps the hightest tax burden in the country.

  10. Gary Von Neida says

    California has been “re-electing” Progressive/ Socialists for far too many Years—Boxer & Feinstein—more Internationally involved than State involved. Governor Brown, aptly named “moon beam”–too much L.S.D. and more concerned with supporting illegal aliens than fixing roads. If illegal aliens were not allowed ( looking the other way to avoid being labeled as a racist ) TO VOTE, California’s Conservative base could do as the United States just did—elect a real Man for the job.

  11. Jerry Brown and his Democrat-majority legislature do not have infrastructure anywhere on their priority list. His priority is Luddite environmentalism.

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