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The California budget mess and the GOP July 3, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.

My state is in the annual budget deadlock, exacerbated by economic woes that dwindled taxes coming in and increased payouts. The Democrats are not blameless. They refuse to cut sacred-cow programs that are the bulk of the state budget. With such a huge deficit, there are no sacred cows. The lawmakers need to go back to basics, what we all do in our own lives when the budget gets tight. Then you get money in any reasonable way you can. You do not refuse to look at alternative ways to get money – you sell used books or CDs or things piled up in your garage. You clip coupons to stretch your grocery money. On the contrary hand, you cut back as much as you can. You stop eating out and cook modest meals at home. You go less to movies, concerts, sporting events and find cheaper entertainment. You look for bargains.

But this post focuses on one aspect of the state budget crisis that is the ugly secret of the GOP, that most of the counties in California that vote solidly Republican are also those that on a per capita basis get the most money from the state. The GOP in California has two main power bases, the more conservative region of southern California including San Diego and Orange county and the rural counties that are predominantly agricultural or timber-based historically. The first area gets and pays more or less what the Democratic areas – the urban areas like Los Angeles and the San Francisco bay area.

The rural counties love the GOP’s espousal of smaller government, fewer regulation, lower taxes. They also get state monies for a variety of reasons – farm subsidies, much cheaper water, support for school transportation, and much more. When the tax revenues for these counties is summed up and then compared to the sum of state funds paid out by county, these GOP-dominated counties all come out well ahead. The whole idea they promote is “I do not want the state to bother me, but I deserve all that I can get from them.” The deserve is the key. These counties are tax drains on the state, but promote the image that they are burdened.

In the budget solution, the cuts ought to be based on a per capita basis. Then these counties will whine about their disproportionate burden of the cuts, conveniently ignoring that they now get more per person.



1. The Chemist - July 3, 2009

California Über Alles?

What you’re saying about sacred cows is completely true. Reevaluating my own household finances, I’ve been seeing waste left and right that I’ve managed to put a lid on. The state of Georgia doesn’t seem to understand the concept of priorities though. We’re cutting back on public safety, which is the last thing we should be doing when people are more desperate than ever, and when they can least afford the expense of a fire or hospital visit. Don’t even get me started on school shutdowns when gas prices get too high.

The whole objection to taxation as being a drain on the economy is meaningless. The idea that there is substantially different effect on the economy when it’s the state spending money vs. taxpayers spending the same money is a little tiresome. Even more tiresome is the old ruse of showing tax dollars being wasted on certain specific programs and then making the bizarre leap of logic that all taxation is unnecessary and Bad with a capital B. Whatever happened to citizens sitting down in a mature fashion and talking over state finances like they would at home with their spouses and/or roommates? It’s not hard, it’s just addition, subtraction, and the occasional judgment call.

2. macromedia - July 7, 2009


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