Tuesday, July 21, 2009

California's Budget Gets "Balanced"

And by balanced I mean screwed up further. To hear governmental officials talk you would think that the solution has been there all along. Oh, we're just going to make some very tough cuts in services and education and do a little drilling and it will all be okay. As near as I can tell the cuts in spending (and yes we need to cut spending but who knows if these are the right cuts) will only account for about half of the deficit reduction. The rest of it comes from stealing from local cities and counties, creative accounting methods that would normally send people to jail and efforts to push the crisis off further into the future. At some point Arnold won't be governor anymore and he can say it is someone else's problem now.

Over the past 30 years we have let ballot initiatives, term limits, gerrymandered electoral maps and Proposition 13 turn the state into the mess it is in today. I'm not calling for a repeal of Prop 13 but this 2/3 vote requirement for any tax increase is ludicrous. Additionally, politicians have little interest in making the tough decisions when they can just put an item on the ballot and let the knowledgeable people of California make the decision. That way the politicians can focus on the next office seat they will be running for since they are term limited in their current spot. "Today I am a State Senator, tomorrow I could be Attorney General. Not that I am qualified for either spot."

The mess we are in is going to get worse. The cuts in the budget will make local governments spend more of their budgets covering shortfalls. Unemployment will rise and revenues will fall. The state hasn't even seen the bottom of this economic downfall yet so we will probably have another round of the budget battle in a few months. See you then.

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