California prepares to slash and burn its budget just in time for summer
Memorial Day weekend traditionally sets summer into motion. This year Sacramento will begin to slash and burn the state’s $23 billion budget deficit.
In an attempt to cut billions of dollars Sacramento is set to cut jobs and funds for the following big ticket state entities; education, law enforcement, prisons, healthcare as well as other social programs.
Statewide elected officials will also see their paychecks decrease by 18 percent. However, California’s lawmakers will continue to be the highest paid lawmakers in the country. Not to be outshined, California’s teachers, firefighters and prison guards are also among the highest paid in the country.
Next, the Governor is looking to borrow $2 billion from local governments. Isn’t this how California got into this pickle? But Gov. Schwarzenegger won’t stop there; he is also looking to borrow an additional $15 billion in federally-backed bonds. Again, not to be picky here but this isn’t cutting, it’s borrowing.
Last week Californians went to the polls and sent Sacramento a clear message to shrink the size of government. Also last week former Secretary of State Colin Powell said the people wanted more government and they were willing to pay extra for the services. Really?
Republican lawmakers in Sacramento have proposed some cuts of their own. They would like to cap the days they can work (lucky them), reduce pensions and transfer state government jobs into the private sector. I’m pretty sure that will be tough to accomplish as Sacramento is riddled with special interests and unions. Good luck.
Here are my top three picks to get the state back on track.
First, stop the green nonsense. California enacted a state law for public transportation providers;. By 2012 all transportation agencies must have 15 percent of their fleet “green.” Sounds fair?
These so-called “green buses” cost a staggering $51 per mile for fuel and maintenance. On the flip side it only costs $1.61 per mile for fuel and maintenance for a diesel bus. Not tough to do the math here. In addition, independent researchers have pointed out the change in buses would do little to protect the environment against global warming.
Next up the bullet train boondoggle, the start-up cost for this project is somewhere around $81 billion. Independent researchers have noted that Californian’s would pay at least $70 billion in interest charges. This would cost the taxpayers a whopping $150 billion. Looking at what a colossal failure Amtrak is, I don’t envision any return for the taxpayer money.
This high speed train would service a San Francisco to Sacramento route; Sacramento to Los Angeles route and possibly a Los Angeles to San Diego route. Due to the size of California the train would still take an hour longer than an airplane and would cost more. With California’s current budget problems the state simply cannot afford this misguided project.
Finally, there is no way California can continue an open border policy. With an economy that continues its downward spiral, spending money on people who are not here legally is wrong. If California really wants to get its golden state status back, it needs to close all the immigration loopholes.
A good start would be to pass the California Taxpayer Protection Act of 2010. This would save California $1 billion up front and many billions down the road.
The people spoke last week, now it’s up to Sacramento to start listening.
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