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Here's the one thing: California is having a going-out-of-business sale and all common sense must go! Am I the only one who is surprised it lasted this long?
The situation is so bad that California's rosy scenario puts their budget just $15 billion in the red. When you trade "rosy" for "realistic," you're looking at as much as $21 billion in the hole.
Look, I probably don't have to tell you that a lot of things in California don't make sense:
This is a state where one estimate counts 7,000 overlapping jurisdictions.
This is a state where key lawmakers go on overseas junkets instead of meeting their constitution's budget deadline but who, can still manage to pass bills banning wild burros from private property and exempting golf carts from traffic laws in some upscale communities.
This is a state where a public pension system pays $5,000 state and municipal retirees more than $100,000 a year (double the average household income in the U.S.).
And — most troublingly for all my economic geeks out there — this is a state with the lowest bond rating in the nation, likely because they sell bonds to themselves. What does that mean? When the state needed to run up more debt, who stepped in to help out? The Bay Area Toll Authority. That's sort of like listing an item on eBay from your home computer and then buying it yourself from your laptop.
Of course, California knows how shady this is, so their treasurer wants the U.S. to back these bonds. Remember, if California were its own country it would have the 8th biggest economy in the world. Considering our government is micromanaging car companies ad budgets, don't you think someone will soon decide California is too big to fail?
Other than you paying for California's long-standing stupidity, what's their plan to turn the state around? Governor Schwarzenegger proposed $15 billion in cuts and warned that if his propositions fail, California would need to release 40,000 prisoners, lay off more than 50,000 teachers and close down dozens of fire stations.
Polls suggest the governor's propositions will all fail Tuesday, (besides the one that'll keep lawmakers from giving themselves raises, which they did twice in the past six months.)
How many times do we have to hear this fraudulent argument? When you have literally no government structure whatsoever, then I'll believe you have nothing less important to cut than fire fighters and prisons. You can't make that argument when you're still spending: $1.5 million for nontoxic dry cleaning; or $40.5 million for migrant day care; or the estimated $13 billion for education, health care and other services for the state's 3.2 million illegal immigrants.
And yes, I understand they cut the budget for their sea otter program by close to half. But before you let murderers out on the streets, I suggest you make the otter budget look like the first letter of "otter."
While they float radical plans — like selling San Quentin Prison (an idea that's been voted down for four years) — I have an even more radical plan: use common sense.
Spend less and balance your budget; open up your oil leases for additional funds and lower your income tax rates from the highest in the country, instead of driving out business. Then hope the otters will forgive you.
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