Thursday, October 07, 2010

Thanks For Nothing Sacramento

I guess it would be too hard to ask our elected officials in Sacramento, and I'm including the Governor, Assemblymen, and State Senators in this, to have done their jobs properly. The budget was due 85 days ago. As of today, there is no budget. That may changelater today in an act of arrogance by the lot of them.

Let me explain.

As anyone with a brain might know, this state has a significant budget crisis. Add to that the continued moribund state of the economy, and you have a real problem. We got to this place by not managing our money properly. Toput it bluntly, this state has been spending money like a drunk sailor on liberty.

Things needed to change. The spending by our state, in good years, is reckless and premised on the idea that what goes up will continue to go up. In bad years, like we've been having the last few years, it is clearly unsustainable.

And yet neither our Governor nor our Legislature have taken meaningful steps to reform our spending. According to the Legislative Affairs Office, the current amount is over $20 billion. When you cant just print money, like the Federal government chooses to, that's a lot of money to be out.

That should leave a responsible government three choices: 1) raise taxes, 2) cut spending, or 3) cut some spending and raise some taxes. Because the economic situation is so bad, raisaing taxes would just compound the problem and probably depress any gains that may actually be occurring in the economy.

To his scant credit, the Governor proposed a budget that drastically slashed programs across the budget. Especially hard hit were social programs. Was this a perfect plan? No, but what it should have done was forced us to look at how we are spending our money and reform te system so that it is sustainable. If we as a state our going to be committed to the welfare system, then it is incumbent upon n to do it in a way tat it does not unfairly penalize those of us who are taxed to pay for it.

So what did the Legislature? What they are famous for. They failed to tae action. They complained. They screamed like spoiled children on behalf of tier various benefactors (unions if they were democrats, corporations if they were republicans, you know, the usual).

And all the while, the statement without a budget. And real budgetary reform went undone.

So today, we wake up to fid out that the Legislature is ready to pass a budget. But what's in it? That's a very good question. No one seems to know. And they are voting on it today. All we have is an outline of what they say is in the budget. Somehow, without making any significant cuts, and without raising any taxes or fees, the alleged budget will close approximately $19 billion of the deficit. Well, it looks like they are resorting to more accounting tricks.

Because if there is one thing that we have earned through this present economic hardship, accounting tricks are a good idea for establishing a long term solution.

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