Economic Turmoil and Failed Leadership In California
For those of us in California, today was a very important day. After months of negotiations and threats, California finally passed a budget today. The Governator is expected to sign the bill into law later today.
The passage of the budget is an important step in California. There hasn't been a budget deal since last year. As a result, California State Workers are forced to take two unpaid days off a month. State Service offices are closed. Many local governments cannot provide full time services anymore. Those Californians who paid too much in taxes are not going to get their refunds until the budget mess is cleaned up.
So what did our fearless leaders do with this budget? They raised taxes on Californians. And they cut services. So let me get this right, I am going to have to pay more to receive less?
The plan calls for $15 billion in program cuts and spending reductions, $12.8 billion in temporary tax increases and $11.4 billion in borrowing. Califonria's vehicle license fee, already one of the highest in the Country, will rise under the package, as will the state's sales and income taxes.
Yet, despite the passage of the budget, the $3.3 billion owed in taxpayer refunds and payments to contractors and local governments will not be forthcoming any time soon.
So our fearless leaders are asking us to take on more burden without receiving anything in return. Let's take a look at some of the spending cuts shall we:
• Education – Cuts school funding by about $5.2 billion through June 2010. .
• Higher education – The plan cuts $692 million by cutting the University of California and California State University budgets by 10 percent, among other cutting measures.
• Health and social services – Cost-of-living increases for welfare and SSI/SSP recipients were eliminated for $674 million in savings.
• Transportation – The plan eliminates funding for local transit agencies.
• Line-item vetoes – The governor is expected to cut another $600 million more in spending from what Legislature approved.
One thing that was not cut was legislature salaries when they can't get a budget passed. That was the only provision all sides of the political spectrum believed was a bad idea. Must be nice to be your own boss.
So there it is, Californians get another raw deal. So my message to our leaders: YOU ARE FIRED. Yes, you too Governator. You have made a mess of our State. Taxes constantly go up and services are cut. Our schools are falling apart and you cut more from the schools general fund. You are making it impossible for middle class families to afford college. And there you are, patting yourselves on the back. Hopeully, the electorate will remember this the next time around and get rid of all you.
Update July 28, 2009
Things in California have gotten worse. State Employees are now required to take three unpaid days off a month in what are called furlough Fridays. The Legislature is discussing cutting funds for education, welfare, and other social services to bridge a 26 billion dollar budget shortfall.
The amazing part of all of this is while state workers are forced to take a 15 percent pay cut, the legislature has taken no pay cut. They still take their per diems. They still have the same lives they had before the budget problems. Never mind the thousands of workers whose lives have been disrupted. And they still can't do anything together.
More than ever, California needs new leadership. A new Governor and new legislature. California is falling apart and the current leaders are doing nothing.
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