Doomsday for California?
Will May 19 be election day or doomsday for California? If enough voters fall for the slick TV and mail campaign supporting Propositions 1A-F, we are sunk. The governor, Legislature and tax eaters are perpetrating the most insidious scam ever. Proposition 1A looks like a big fat lie to me — huge tax increase dressed up with bogus reform. The rest of the props are a little less deceptive but, at best, are a waste of ink and paper. Don’t you hate being lied to?
Already, California income and sales taxes are among the highest in the nation, as are business costs, thanks to excessive regulation. Business and talent are leaving for other states. We are driving out our best, brightest and most productive citizens and impoverishing many who cannot leave. At 11 percent, our unemployment rate is apace with our taxes and regulation — among the worst of the 50 states. In Calaveras County the unemployment rate is nearer 15 percent. Sixteen decades of California’s world leadership in opportunity and growth has come to an end.
If we trounce Propositions 1A-F soundly enough, the Legislature may be shocked back to reality and fiscal sanity. That is why I am voting no on 1A-F, Sacramento simply must cut spending and anti-business regulation. Only then can California begin to heal.
Last year I shook off a lifelong devotion to lost causes and re-registered as a Democrat. In all likelihood, I’m now back in lost cause mode, having cast yes votes for Props. 1A through 1F.
With banana republic thinking reaching epidemic proportions, only 1F is said to have a chance. Anyone who savors that doesn’t give enough credit to our legislators’ imaginations. They’ll find a trough somewhere.
The real threat is to institutions, like libraries, that don’t put out fires, keep the peace, guard the losers who got caught and convicted, or have powerful unions protect their interests.
It’s understandable that public safety comes first. But public safety is not the only criterion of a successful society. When the libraries close and the parks are choked with weeds, we will have failed as a society. Don’t think that can’t happen.
The unions and others who believe that failure of the May 19 package will bring a sudden awakening and an appetite for self-denial and sacrifice are, I think, delusional. More likely is that it would only whet reactionary appetites for even more cutbacks — “We’ve got ‘em on the run now, guys!!”
So, be careful what you wish for, all you naysayers. And for those who think with their calculators, consider the value of a home in a community without a good library and park system.
As the old saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!”
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the special election propositions will make any long term impact on the state’s economic fiasco. The “special interests” that Arnold Schwarzenegger campaigned so vigorously against have hooked him, pulled him in, and now have him floundering on the shore.
We cannot continue to borrow from future “projected” revenues and expect to live a healthy fiscal life. If anything, our state legislators and governor should commit the necessary political suicide and simply establish a budget strategy based upon even more severe cuts than already imposed and commit to a policy of no new legislation without full funding.
A constitutional amendment could be written that requires two-year budgets without reliance on “future” projected revenues, such as bonds and lottery revenues. Instead of cities and counties having to apply for grants, the local revenues should be retained locally and not sent to the state — where huge percentages are skimmed off and only a small portion sent back to their source.
Unfortunately, the state has itself become a high-dollar “workfare” program for administrators. We have to, as a society, adjust to a “new normal” that doesn’t continue the trend of giving raises based upon the self- perpetuating, upward spiraling system of administrative parity.
I urge you to vote a resounding no on any and all ballot propositions, as they are sponsored by and funded with “special interest” monies that are not looking out for the best interest of the citizenry, but only protecting their own.
According to our esteemed governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, if the initiatives on the May 19 ballot don’t pass, 1700 firefighter jobs will be lost. The fire season is here now. That is only the beginning of the scare tactics that will be utilized by our state officials. The first things to be cut are basic necessities such as, public safety, health care and education.
This whole mess was placed on the ballot by the Legislature. Its members apparently worked prodigiously to balance the budget with smoke and mirrors, while they collected per-diem wages plus salary.
When they get a politically damaging issue, they put it on a ballot rather than doing the job we elected them to do. If they are serious about the budget deficit, why don’t they give up the per-diem (which is tax exempt), give up the leased vehicles (state paid) and state-issued gas credit cards? Let them use their own vehicles like we do, pay for their own fuel as we do, along with the cost of the insurance, general upkeep and registration. These would be deductible items on their income tax forms.
Attorney General Jerry Brown, former “less-is-more” governor and potential candidate for governor next year, used an older Plymouth as his official car while he was in office.
It is time for the people of this great state to just say no to the spend-more, tax-more Legislature. I think it would be prudent to return to a part-time Legislature. At least they got the job done.
Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties