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EDITORIAL CREDIT RISK DAVIS' POLITICKING THREATENS TO BANKRUPT THE STATE.

IF Standard & Poor's kept tabs on Gov. Gray Davis, it would need a new scale just to measure his plummeting credibility.

By now, he'd qualify for the first-ever triple-Z rating.

For four months, Davis has labored under the illusion that if he just keeps spending the taxpayers' money long enough, the energy crisis will suddenly disappear all on its own.

And he's refused to disclose the details of the state's long-term contracts with energy suppliers. Davis expects Wall Street, the taxpayers, the Legislature and the public to trust him that he's spending the money wisely - so keep sending it his way.

Not surprisingly, people have started to doubt the efficacy of this plan. They worry that the state will never recover its money, and that future budgets will suffer.

The people at S&P have downgraded the state's credit rating from AA to A+ and four California State University bond programs have also been downgraded - which means lending money to California has become riskier and the cost of interest is going up.

And state Republicans, fed up with Davis' secrecy, have threatened to deep-six the heart of his energy plan unless he comes clean.

Local Assemblymen George Runner, R-Lancaster, and Tony Strickland, R-Camarillo, and other Republicans have vowed to sink a bill that would float $12.4 billion in bonds to repay the state treasury for all the tax dollars Davis has spent buying energy.

They demand that Davis disclose how he has spent billions to keep the lights on in Beverly Hills mansions and San Francisco skyscrapers.

They wield a heavy club. If the state can't sell bonds to recoup the money it has spent on power, next year's budget - and various programs - could suffer.

That, of course, punishes taxpayers in cities with their own power supplies, like those in Los Angeles, Burbank and Glendale, whose money has improperly been spent to pay the bills for customers of private utilities.

It's understandable why Republicans feel like they need to take desperate measures. Davis has long ignored pleas - from both sides of the aisle - to deal with the energy crisis openly and honestly.

Legislators would be fools to sign on to any plan without knowing the details first.

It's time for Davis to start putting the interests of the state above that of his reputation. He might want to hide his mess, but the secrecy is hurting California's credit, its budget and its future.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Apr 27, 2001
Words:404
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