I love California. I really do. It’s a beautiful state with an incredibly diverse landscape and an equally diverse population. The weather is phenomenal. And, there aren’t many places in the world where you can be on the ski slopes in the morning and the beach at night all in the same day. I’ve lived on both coasts and in the middle of this great country, but I’ve made California my home.
Like many states in the Union we are faced with a budget problem. California’s budget problems have been around for what seems like forever. However, that’s not always been the case. Back in the boom times of the late 90’s things were happening here. Budget surpluses. Happy times. Smiling faces. In California we were at the forefront of the boom times and tax revenue was coming in big time. Like individuals we spent more on many programs in an effort to create the great Utopia. And, also like many individuals the State of California didn’t save money for that rainy day (despite the myth that it never rains in California). After all, the economy and tax revenue will only grow right?
Flash forward to today and we’re in yet another year of a budget crisis with a $16B budget shortfall. To put things in perspective that $16B deficit is larger than almost 40% of the countries in the world’s entire economy. California is huge…a huge cluster-fuck.
This isn’t a Democrat/Republican/Green Tree Hugger issue. It’s an unable to face reality issue. And, like every time we go through this, no matter who the Governor is and what party they are aligned with, the administration that’s in charge, in an attempt to balance this behemoth of a spending plan, will propose one thing for certain:
We will have to cut Fire, Police and Education first.
This is complete and utter B.S. We know it. They know it. Everyone knows it. It is clearly a ploy to strike fear in our minds. There are so many areas of waste that can be cut first. In fact, let’s take a look at some examples of areas that might just make the list before the education of our kids and our safety.
- As a SF Giants fan I have no problem dissin on the Dodgers so how about whacking their $300k “feel good” bus providing free transportation to Dodgers games. Helping the underprivileged see ballgames is fine and all, but heaven forbid they have to forego an $8 beer (or 4) to offset transportation.
- Alpine County in California is in “need” of a new courthouse to the tune of $26M. Can’t forgo the law right? Oh wait, aren’t we cutting the Police? Are criminals in Alpine County just going to turn themselves in?
Alpine County is California’s smallest county. It has about 1100 people and oddly enough since the 70’s it hasn’t effectively changed. Do they really need a new courthouse to the tune of $25k per person?
- Maybe the State could let go of one of it’s Prison system doctors since he’s deemed unfit to practice. Oh wait, we probably can’t do that because he’s part of a Union. But, for sake of argument let’s say we could let this mentally unfit doctor go. How much would we save? How about $777k per year?!?! At least the mail is still being delivered in the Prison.
- Or maybe we could shelve the great High Speed Rail project that was originally budgeted to cost $40B, then ballooned to $98B in less than 4 years, now trimmed back to just under $70B. Who want’s to bet if this thing ever is finished it will not only cost more than $1Trillion but it will also be a complete and utter failure that virtually no one uses because even when you arrive you will still need to find transportation to your actual destination?
- At least the State decided to drop it’s $2B courtroom computer project. Too bad they already spent more than $500M on it and will, get this, be “setting aside $8.6M to study the issue and perhaps salvage scraps from the abandoned project.”
Granted these are effectively chump change when compared to a $16B deficit. But, it’s gotta start somewhere right? I mean Dave did it and he was just a look-a-like of the President of the United States.
With the budget battle and “raise taxes” calls going out in California (and all over the country…world?) I can’t help but think the next set of people (this is California, we’ll have Dems, Republicans and a fringe feel-good party person) vying for office will use these songs as their rallying cries at all events:
Or perhaps they should create a study to decide the feasibility of doing a poll to understand if these songs will resonate with voters.