Nothing but the Truth!
May 20, 2010 (San Diego) -- The Annual California Budget Mess has started -again! Arnold "Terminator" Swartzenegger has proposed a budget which guts welfare, healthcare. and schools, and aid to the mentally ill. Swartzenegger refuses to tax Big Oil, while California Republicans continue to block a Democratic budget reform which might actually tax businesses. A 10% oil severance tax, which California refuses (unlike all other US states), would easily pay for many of these cuts in state service.
California has been unable to pass a budget for years, thanks to a "Minority Rules" quirk in the State Constitution. Under current rules, a small minority of Republicans is able to block a budget which needs a 2/3 vote to pass new taxes or reform the Governor's Budget.
Because of this political impasse, California has been unable to balance its budget for years. The current depression has not helped, and many local governments are hurting as well.
Swartzenegger proposes to cut $1.6 billion from Calworks Welfare, $1.2 billion from day-care, $523 million from transportation, and $446 million from the state payroll by cutting State Employees one "furlough" day per month. Also endangered are mental health funds. Swarzenegger apparently thinks it\s easier to treat crazy people AFTER they go crazy and hurt someone.
This is another "Trickle-Down" (Piss on the Poor) Program much beloved by the Bush-era neo-cons who expect private charity or churches to pick up the slack. If you expect a "Thousand Points of Light", buy some sunglasses. The giant sucking sound you hear is an avalanche of homelessness and unemployment.
California needs to fix this budgetary impasse once and for all. While the rights of minorities should always be respected, there is no reason to grant a vociferous and selfish minority control of the California Budget. If California wants to avoid being a failed economic state like Greece, it needs to ensure a budget process free of scare tactics, intimidation, and bluffing. As long as we make it more difficult to raise taxes than spend state money, we will run a state budget deficit and keep on this annual charade of Liar's Poker.
Will Power is a retired teacher who holds a master's degree in creative writing.
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