24 July 2009

Mean, Nasty and Stupid

It's been a couple of days since the governor and the legislature reached a budget agreement, and there was some hope at the time that things might not turn out to be as bad as they looked then.

Well, they are: this budget deal is mean, nasty, and stupid. The budget cuts $15B altogether to close a $26B shortfall. Of these $15B, $9B come from education, divided between K-12 ($6B) and Higher Ed ($3B). The rest of the shortfall is covered through a combination of shameless money grab from counties and municipalities and accounting tricks. The budget deal allows resumption of oil drilling off the Santa Barbara Coast — which will bring in a measly $100M — but does not raise any other extra revenue.

It's true that some programs for the poor and the sick were completely eliminated, although they have heavily cut. Maybe that's why Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-LA) is smiling. But there is nothing to smile about.

The budget deal having been approved by the Senate in an all-night session, it is currently being debated in the Assembly where apparently one of the most contentious items is early release of prisoners from the State system (again, you would not want to step on the prison guards union's toes).

The Republicans in the Legislature have had their way in not raising any new revenue. Except of course when it comes to State and University Employees: what are salary cuts and furloughs if not a tax hike targeted at a very specific group, violating the spirit if not the letter of the Equal Protection Clause?

Unfortunately there is not much that can be done right now to bring back some sanity to the California political process. Local governments, unions and educators are beginning to build opposition to this cruel budget deal, but the problems are more far-reaching.

Well, then, what to do now? Here is a first list:
  1. Fix the electoral process with redistricting reform as enacted through Prop. 11 and move towards open primaries.
  2. Repeal Prop. 13 at least for commercial properties and the 2/3 majority requirement.
  3. Approve AB 565, if necessary by putting it on the ballot for voters to approve directly. This would bring California in line with Texas (!!) in using an oil severance tax to fund higher Education.

Finally, hats-off to Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, who was the only one to speak against the budget cuts in education at the UC Regents' meeting earlier this month. Unfortunately, it appears that Garamendi is running for Congress in California's 10th district. That's too bad: he's needed right here in California.

1 comment:

  1. Now that our legislators are supposedly on the same track with E-Verify, it needs to be rigorously enforced? California--a Sanctuary State--will need exclusive attention along with other border states, because they have been occupied by millions of illegal immigrants, causing major damage to their economies. Once E-Verify is fully implemented on a permanent basis for all the working population, including all persons on a payroll? My suggestion is an army of federal inspectors of perhaps retired civil servants, senior citizens in their resident community, to make unexpected inspections on large and small businesses.

    The inspectors will probably have to be armed with a general search warrant, but honorable business will hardly impose this restriction if they have nothing to hide? This will be a strict deterrent to parasite businesses, who will never be aware--WHEN THAT FEDERAL OFFICER--is going to turn up, to observe their workers? They will audit their books and check for irregularities in the workplace. This is happening in Italy and other countries, because of the importation of illegal foreign labor, has caused major concerns amongst the countries bona-fide workers. If Washington is really sincere about the10.5 jobless Americans, then we need to impose heavy penalties on those business that scorn the law. Another possibility is a reward system for informants, who have positive knowledge of companies that are scoffing at E-Verify, and committing the offense of hiring illegal aliens. Business are living off taxpayers taxes, because they don't convey health care to their illegal hires.

    Get on the phone and tell your Representative, you support--THE SAVE ACT-- 202-224-3121 Believe it! Your voices are having the right effect.?Support for the bi-partisan SAVE Act, which will expand E-Verify and protect American jobs! We must focus on the key to this major problem-the jobs that attract illegal aliens. It would phase in a requirement for every employer to use the electronic verification system. We must also be aware that the Democrats are ready to open the gates to our nation, once a path to citizenship is announced. Search out the facts at NUMBERSUSA, AMERICANPATROL

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