Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window - Steve Wozniak

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This Stimulus For Sale

How are some communities using the stimulus money? To make a quick buck, it seems.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority has allocated a minimum of $500,000 in federal stimulus funds to each of the 88 cities in [Los Angeles] county for transportation-related projects. Unincorporated areas will benefit, too.

Several smaller cities, some without shovel-ready projects, are making deals with others to sell or swap such funds and replenish their general funds.

“The best way to see this is as a huge windfall for us because we do have the flexibility of using the general fund money now,” city manager Shauna Clark of La Habra Heights said. [...]

La Habra Heights, a city of 6,000, has sold its $500,000 in federal funds to the city of Westlake Village for $310,000 cash. Irwindale, population 1,500, also sold its $500,000 to Westlake Village, for $325,000 cash. [...]

Part of the reason the MTA did not simply reallocate the unused money, said chief planning officer Carol Inge, was that “our board wanted to give every city at least a chance to benefit from the stimulus package.”

And Californians wonder why their state is in the shape it’s in.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 03/11/09 at 08:20 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

California Death Watch

If California really is a model for how the rest of the nation eventually goes, then we are in deep trouble, if the Republicans in the state legislature are any indication.

A delicate budget fix crafted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders was on the brink of collapse early Wednesday after Republicans in the Senate ousted their leader. The late-night coup could derail already strained budget talks by requiring them to renegotiate with a new Republican leader.

The current package containing billions in tax hikes, spending cuts and borrowing took leaders more than three months to put together as the state tries to pass a midyear budget fix and avoid fiscal calamity.

Lawmakers viewed the leadership change as a major setback after they fell short by just one GOP vote, but Democratic leader Darrell Steinberg said he didn’t want to speculate what it would mean for the package.

‘’We’re after one reasonable person who puts California first,’’ Steinberg said as Republicans voted to remove Sen. Dave Cogdill.

Republicans replaced Cogdill with Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murietta, whom they saw as more capable of resisting tax increases.

So, the state is going broke, due in no small part to Arnold’s own uninspired leadership, and these guys feel the greatest threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of the California dream is...tax increases. And since the state is already broke, deeper budget cuts are obviously the way to go. Never mind the fact that the state can’t pay its bills, or even for the basic services that taxes are supposed to be used for.

The obsession with taxes is just unrealistic. And it will kill the party, if the economy doesn’t do it first.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 02/18/09 at 03:21 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Go And Sin No More

It’s a bad time to be a Californian.  The economy, the taxes, the budget crunch, a fiscal war between the state and the localities.  Now this:

Federal judges tentatively ruled on Monday that California must reduce the number of inmates in its overcrowded prison system by up to 40 percent to stop a constitutional violation of prisoners’ rights.

“Overcrowding is the primary cause of the unconstitutional conditions that have been found to exist in the California prisons,” the court concluded.

California state officials, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, immediately promised to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.

“The governor and I strongly disagree with this ruling,” said Matthew Cate, California’s corrections and rehabilitation secretary. Implementing the court’s ruling would result in up to 58,000 prisoners being released, Cate said, describing it as a threat to public safety.

He disputed the court’s contention that the prisons are unsafe the way they are now.

But in 2006, Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency because of “severe overcrowding” in California’s prisons, saying it had caused “substantial risk to the health and safety of the men and women who work inside these prisons and the inmates housed in them.”

In court documents, the judges said the state’s prison system was at about 200 percent of capacity

Steven Levitt crunches the numbers:

What does this mean for crime? If my estimates are correct, ultimately violent crime will be roughly 6 percent higher in California than it would have been absent the lawsuit. That is roughly 150 extra homicides a year, 500 additional rapes, and 4,500 more robberies.

While those crime numbers sound bad, according to my estimates, letting out the prisoners is more or less a wash from a societal cost-benefit perspective. The money we save from freeing the prisoners is on the same order of magnitude as the pain and suffering associated with the extra crime.

I do have one very specific policy recommendation to the state of California. If they do a mass release of prisoners, it should be done with strings attached. Namely, if the released prisoner gets convicted of a crime again in the future, his sentence the next time around should be whatever it normally would be plus all of the time that he should have served on his current sentence that gets cut short because of the early release.

This rule would strengthen the incentives for the ex-cons to stay straight. Italy enforced such a policy after a mass release, and it appears to have been quite effective.

This sounds good to me.  I would also heavily focus the release on those convicted of non-violent crimes, like using drugs or cheating on taxes.  But either way, this is going to be ugly.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 02/10/09 at 03:42 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, February 02, 2009

California Green Dreaming

Me:

I’m going to make a prediction right now. We’ve endured a .com bubble and a housing bubble. Bubbles are, unfortunately, inevitable in a free market.

I predict that the next big bubble is going to be alternative energy. Billions of dollars are going to be sunk into untenable technologies. Millions of jobs will be wasted on useless endeavors. There’s nothing wrong with this — so long as it’s the private sector and not the government — creating the bubble. But when governments doing it, we will get a catastrophe on par with the housing crash we’re experiencing now.

Damn it, do I hate being right all the time:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was all smiles in 2006 when he signed into law the toughest anti-global-warming regulations of any state. Mr. Schwarzenegger and his green supporters boasted that the regulations would steer California into a prosperous era of green jobs, renewable energy, and technological leadership. Instead, since 2007—in anticipation of the new mandates—California has led the nation in job losses.

The regulations created a cap-and-trade system, similar to proposed federal global-warming measures, by limiting the CO2 that utilities, trucking companies and other businesses can emit, and imposed steep new taxes on companies that exceed the caps. Since energy is an input in everything that’s produced, this will raise the cost of production inside California’s borders.

Caveat: it’s not clear that the environmental regulations are entirely to blame.  California has been spectacularly mismanaged with massive regulations and taxes of all stripes coming down.  But I would certainly agree that the green initiative is a part of the problem.

But here’s where it gets good:

Now, as the Golden State prepares to implement this regulatory scheme, employers are howling. It’s become clear to nearly everyone that the plan’s backers have underestimated its negative impact and exaggerated the benefits. “We’ve been sold a false bill of goods,” is how Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello, who has been the GOP’s point man on environmental issues in the legislature, put it to me.

The environmental plan was built on the notion that imposing some $23 billion of new taxes and fees on households (through higher electricity bills) and employers will cost the economy nothing, while also reducing greenhouse gases. Almost no one believes that anymore except for the five members of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). This is the state’s air-quality regulator, which voted unanimously in December to stick with the cap-and-trade system despite the recession. CARB justified its go-ahead by issuing what almost all experts agree is a rigged study on the economic impact of the cap-and-trade system. The study concludes that the plan “will not only significantly reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions, but will also have a net positive effect on California’s economic growth through 2020.”

And I thought it was only the evil Bush Administration that politicized science.  I’m shocked, shocked! that environmentalists would cook up a study consisting mostly of bullshit.

The green lobby has lectured us for years that global warming is all about the sanctity of science. Those who question the “scientific consensus” on catastrophic atmospheric changes are belittled as “deniers.” Now, in assessing the costs, the greens readily cook the books and throw good science out the window. “To most of the most strident supporters of this legislation,” says Mr. Niello, “the economic costs don’t really matter anyway, because we are supposedly facing an environmental apocalypse.”

Mr. Schwarzenegger fits into that camp. He recently declared: “I recommend very strongly that we move forward . . . . You will always have people saying this will lose jobs.”

Meanwhile, the state is losing jobs, a lot of them. California’s unemployment rate hit 9.3% in December, up from 4.9% in December 2006. There are now 1.5 million Californians out of work. The state has the fourth-highest housing foreclosure rate in the nation, has lost more businesses than any state in recent years, and is facing a $40 billion deficit. With cap and trade firmly in place, the economic situation is only likely to get worse.

Other states are plundering the Golden State’s industries by convincing businesses to pick up stakes and move out before the cap-and-trade earthquake hits. Governors and Washington politicians who want to reduce their “carbon footprint,” but are worried about the more immediate crises of cascading unemployment, unbalanced budgets, and the housing-market collapse, would be wise not to follow California’s lead. Green policies have a tendency to push states into the red.

Focusing on the economic impact, I think, misses the larger point.  No green industry has yet sprung up to create all these jobs that California is losing.  You can’t just create green industry by sheer force of will, clumsy mandates and lavish subsidies.  The science and technology will dictate what is possible.  If wind farms, for example, are not a feasible energy technology, no amount of government wishcasting will undo the laws of physics or the realities of engineering.

That’s why I favor a hand-off approach.  A carbon tax to make fossil fuels slightly less palatable—or actually to make the price reflect the damage they do to the environment—and generalized funding of science.  This would be best if combined with my favorite dead horse of the moment—a simplified corporate tax to give business the financial flexibility to take big risk on energy.  If you’re going to take something away from business, you have to something back.  Otherwise, they will pull up stakes for greener pastures.

Defenders of the CARB policy—all five that remain—will say that this is only hurting California because the rest of the nation has not imposed equally onerous restrictions on business.  If only we had a national cap-and-trade, everything would be fine!  They seem to be forgetting that America is not the world.  If the entire country buys into a hideously expensive cap-and-trade system, those businesses can move to Mexico.  Or South America.  Or China.  Or anywhere else that isn’t on board with the program.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 02/02/09 at 02:40 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Fault Opens

Behold:

State Controller John Chiang announced today that his office would suspend tax refunds, welfare checks, student grants and other payments owed to Californians starting Feb. 1, as a result of the state’s cash crisis.

Chiang said he had no choice but to stop making some $3.7 billion in payments in the absence of action by the governor and lawmakers to close the state’s nearly $42-billion budget deficit. More than half of those payments are tax refunds.

The controller said the suspended payments could be rolled into IOUs if California still lacked sufficient cash to pay its bills come March or April.

This is going to end in a federal bailout.  The citizens of the rest of the country are inevitably going to pay the bills of the people of California.

Next to Bush, few Republicans have disappointed me as much as Arnold.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 01/16/09 at 06:55 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, January 12, 2009

Last Exit

Will the last person to leave California please turn out the lights?

The number of people leaving California for another state outstripped the number moving in from another state during the year ending on July 1, 2008. California lost a net total of 144,000 people during that period — more than any other state, according to census estimates. That is about equal to the population of Syracuse, N.Y.

The state with the next-highest net loss through migration between states was New York, which lost just over 126,000 residents.

California’s loss is extremely small in a state of 38 million. And, in fact, the state’s population continues to increase overall because of births and immigration, legal and illegal. But it is the fourth consecutive year that more residents decamped from California for other states than arrived here from within the U.S.

A losing streak that long hasn’t happened in California since the recession of the early 1990s, when departures outstripped arrivals from other states by 362,000 in 1994 alone.

In part because of the boom in population in other Western states, California could lose a congressional seat for the first time in its history.

Why are so many looking for an exit?

Among other things: California’s unemployment rate hit 8.4 percent in November, the third-highest in the nation, and it is expected to get worse. A record 236,000 foreclosures are projected for 2008, more than the prior nine years combined, according to research firm MDA DataQuick. Personal income was about flat last year.

With state government facing a $41.6 billion budget hole over 18 months, residents are bracing for higher taxes, cuts in education and postponed tax rebates. A multibillion-dollar plan to remake downtown Los Angeles has stalled, and office vacancy rates there and in San Diego and San Jose surpass the 10.2 percent national average.
....

“I don’t think the California dream, per se, is over. It has become and will continue to become grittier,” says New America Foundation senior fellow Gregory Rodriguez. “Now, perhaps, we have to reassess the California of our imagination.”

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is among those who say the state needs to create itself anew, rebuilding roads, schools and transit.

“We’ve lived off the investments our parents made in the ‘50s and ‘60s for a long time,” says Tim Hodson, director of the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento. “We’re somewhat in the position of a Rust Belt state in the 1970s.”

Years of borrowing and spending didn’t help. Now the high cost of living chickens are coming home to roost.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 01/12/09 at 09:21 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Huntress

Say what you will about Diane Feinstein’s politics, no one can accuse her of not being feisty.

Ms. Feinstein is 76 years old and rumored to be considering leaving Capitol Hill to run for governor in 2010, a job she almost won two decades ago before quickly switching gears and winning a special election for Senate. Her possibly short time horizon when it comes to Washington may explain some of her recent feistiness.

This week, she bristled when Barack Obama picked fellow Californian Leon Panetta to be CIA director. She bluntly noted he lacked any intelligence experience and that she had not been consulted even though she chairs the Intelligence Committee. An irritated Senator Reid told Politico.com: “I think you need better reasons for coming out against somebody than somebody didn’t call you.”

Mr. Reid was also not happy that Ms. Feinstein, a key member of the Rules Committee, openly bucked the party line on whether Illinois Democrat Roland Burris should be seated despite the fact he was appointed by scandal-implicated Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Ms. Feinstein challenged the position of Democratic leaders who rejected Mr. Burris, saying their move called into question the validity of “gubernatorial appointments all over the country.”

Mr. Reid is clearly of another view. “It’s not valid, her statement,” he told Politico. “I told her that. OK?” Nonetheless, many observers expect Mr. Burris to be quietly seated in coming days.

Personally I think she would make a better candidate for governor than either of the two nimrods running Los Angeles or San Francisco (Ms. Feinstein’s old turf). I don’t agree with her on Panetta, but anybody who can give Harry Reid a migraine isn’t all bad.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 01/10/09 at 12:21 AM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, December 12, 2008

Your Job Security Has Been Terminated

How do you make a union fall in line? A bad economy helps.

Has California’s growing budget mess pushed public employee unions into retreat?

Take Service Employees International Union Local 1000, which represents 95,000 state workers in a wide variety of jobs. Last week local President Yvonne Walker told The State Worker, “There are going to have to be cuts. We’re going to have to raise taxes” to address the state’s cash crunch.

This was the same union leader who last month, after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed furloughs and other measures to trim the budget deficit, said, “We’ll fight back with everything that we have.”

Between Walker’s two quotes, the governor threatened to detonate the labor equivalent of a nuclear bomb: layoffs. It’s one thing a California governor can unleash without negotiating with unions or legislators.

Now it looks like the Governator won’t have to. And the unions will have no choice but to shut up in the face of layoffs that are going to have to happen anyway. Sometimes a recession can be a good thing.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/12/08 at 12:18 AM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, December 05, 2008

Alms For The State

Well, this isn’t good news.

California is on track to run out of cash in February or March and faces a $15 billion cash shortage by the end of its fiscal year in June unless officials plug an $11.2 billion budget gap, according to the state’s budget director.

Additionally, if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers fail to close the current fiscal year’s budget shortfall soon, California, the most populous U.S. state, may in March delay payments to its vendors or hand them notes promising payment, according to a December 1 letter to top lawmakers from the director of the Department of Finance, Michael Genest.

A copy of the letter was obtained on Friday by Reuters.

“Specifically, it now appears certain that available cash reserves from all sources will fall below the cash cushion target of $2.5 billion in February and that the state will begin delaying payments or paying in registered warrants in March,” Genest said in his letter.

“To reduce this threat, the administration is also proposing legislation to increase internal borrowable cash resources,” Genest added. “However, even with this cash solution the state will not be able to pay all of its bills in the absence of quick action on the budgetary solutions.”

The last time California, the world’s eighth biggest economy and the largest issuer of U.S. public debt, issued payment promises to vendors was in the early 1990s.

So what happens next? Does Arnold ask for a bailout, or find some way to borrow from somewhere else? There don’t seem to be any easy choices here.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/05/08 at 08:28 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Terminator: Retirement

Where does the Governator go from here?

With his governorship entering its final years and his ability to attract the spotlight intact, the question is arising more frequently: What will Arnold do?

Will he share the stage with Al Gore as a global environmental crusader, promote green technology for an Obama administration, run for the U.S. Senate? Or might he pursue political reform on a broader scale, as he has hinted in appearances with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who shares Schwarzenegger’s independent streak?

I’m guessing Arnold gets offered a job in the Obama administration as one of those Republicans Obama would reach out to. Say what you will about some of his more liberal views, Arnold has been one of the saner high-profile Republican leaders we’ve had over the last few years.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 11/30/08 at 04:24 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Here Come The States

I was a reluctant supporter of the bailout.  Probably the worst aspect of it—and one I knew was coming—is that now, everyone is demanding money from Washington, including the most fiscally mismanaged state in the union:

Not that many people outside of California care, but according to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state faces a nearly $25 billion budget deficit.

As the rich man that he is, the former movie star favors everybody else helping out by making his state’s sales tax the No. 1 biggest, averaging 9.5%.

According to the nonpartisan legislative analyst, Mac Taylor, the state’s deficit will actually be closer to $28 billion in the next 20 months. That’s a lot of money, even at California prices; more money even than Barack Obama raised to get elected president.

Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, a Los Angeles Democrat, has drawn up a partial solution anyway: Federal money.

Use some of those Wall Street taxpayer $700 billion bailout bucks on California!

Bass has urged the federal government to hand over the money to states—well, her state anyway—as well as those rich Wall Street banks in another coastal state. Why should New York get it all?

With federal money it won’t really cost anything, see? And she won’t have to explain voting for more taxes back home come next election. It’s the least Americans can do for the sunshiney state they love to hate.

“We think that with the state of California about to go over a cliff,” Bass says, “we ought to be part of the bailout as well. Can we have $5 billion or $10 billion?”

Handing out that much federal money to the most populous state that can’t balance its own budget is probably O.K. with the rest of the country, don’t you think? How could anyone possibly object in any of those other puny places?

Of course, the problem is that we don’t have $700 billion to bail out Wall Street—we’re borrowing it.  But the pigs smell slops and now they’re all at the trough.  Car companies.  States.  Banks.  Investment companies.  Everyone who is failing is demanding money from those who aren’t.  That’s the legacy of eight years of “free markets”.

I know it’s a silly fantasy, but wouldn’t it be just great if one of our politicians stood up and said the following:  “No.  Fuck all of you.  It was a questionable idea to bail out the banks.  Now you’re trying to persuade us that two wrongs make a right—that if we screwed up by bailing out the banks, we should screw up more by bailing out everyone else.  What good is bailout money going to be if inflation destroys its value?  Who is going to bail out the federal government when it can’t pay it’s bills?  Buckle down and man up, you pussies.  You can figure out to cut costs.  Don’t come crying to us because you can’t or won’t make tough decisions.”

I’ve become more sympathetic to the idea that our bailouts need to be conditional on firing the CEO and half the board of whoever is getting the money (I think this is how Europe does it; but I can’t find a reference).  There needs to be a huge disincentive to this sort of crapola.  Best part?  For California to get a dime of federal money, they’d have to shitcan half their legislature and their worthless Governator.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 11/13/08 at 02:07 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

You Can Check Out Any Time You Like, But You Can Never Leave

Hoping to cash in on the lottery? The state might have other plans for your ill-gotten gains.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers in Sacramento just might be bailed out of their budget standoff by a new initiative that would slap a one-time wealth tax of 55% on Californians rude enough to have $20 million or more in property. The ballot measure wouldn’t come to voters until June 2010 at the earliest, but that might not be a problem, seeing as how the current year’s budget will probably still be stalled.
....

Most of the revenue would be used to buy Exxon-Mobil. And Chevron. And GM, Ford, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Citigroup. Why? To assure California of an adequate supply of energy, at stable prices, without offshore drilling. And to repatriate off-shore manufacturers.

Oh, and to restore the Hetch-Hetchy Valley, which currently is a reservoir supplying water to the Bay Area, to the way it was at the beginning of the last century.

So, rich folk, you say you’d just take your money and Chevron stock and move to Telluride? Or the Bahamas? These guys are way ahead of you. The wealthy would have to pay to leave the state, whether their mode of exodus is a limousine or a pine box.

Stealing from the rich to...invest in the rich? Seriously, is there anything dumber than California politicians?

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/06/08 at 02:30 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, July 25, 2008

Trans-Fats, You Have Been Terminated

The Governator has apparently fallen for the anti-trans fats line.

SACRAMENTO—California restaurants will have to cook virtually without trans fats, such as those contained in margarine and many oils, under restrictions signed into law today by the state’s health-conscious governor.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a five-time Mr. Universe and a physical-fitness advocate who crusades against obesity, sided with legislators who said the measure would help get the fat out of Californians who are too dependent on fast food.

“California is a leader in promoting health and nutrition, and I am pleased to continue that tradition by being the first state in the nation to phase out trans fats,” Schwarzenegger said. “Consuming trans fat is linked to coronary heart disease, and today we are taking a strong step toward creating a healthier future for California.”

The law, AB 97 by Assemblyman Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), will ban cooking with artificial trans fats in restaurants by Jan. 1, 2010, and bar their presence in baked goods by Jan. 1, 2011.

Somebody must have messed with his programming. Judgement Day apparently includes Skynet using heart disease against humanity.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 07/25/08 at 03:23 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Welcome To The Gulag California

It’s a good thing California has a Republican Governor.  Otherwise, they might be raising taxes through the roof:

New York City has long been the highest tax jurisdiction in the United States, but California politicians are proposing to steal that brass tiara. California faces a $15 billion budget deficit and Democrats who rule the state Legislature have proposed closing the gap with a $9.7 billion tax hike on business and “the rich.” There’s a movie that describes this idea: Clueless.

The plan would raise the top marginal income tax rate to 12% from 10.3%; that would be the highest in the nation and twice the national average. This plan would also repeal indexing for inflation, which is a sneaky way for politicians to push middle-income Californians into higher tax brackets every year, especially when prices are rising as they are now. The corporate income tax rate would also rise to 9.3% from 8.4%. So in the face of one of the worst real-estate recessions in the state’s history, the politicians want to raise taxes on businesses that are still making money.

This latest tax gambit was unveiled, ironically enough, within days of two very large California employers announcing they are saying, in the famous words of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, “hasta la vista, baby” to the state. First, the AAA auto club declared it will close its call centers in California, meaning that 900 jobs will move to other states. “It costs more to do business in California,” said a AAA press release, in the understatement of the year.

Then last week Toyota announced it is canceling plans to build its new Prius hybrid at its plant in the San Francisco Bay area because of the high tax and regulatory costs. Adding to the humiliation is that Toyota will now take this investment and about 1,000 jobs to a more progressive and pro-business state: Mississippi.

There is already a reverse gold rush going on in California and the evidence points powerfully toward high tax rates as a culprit. Census Bureau data show that, from 1996-2005, 1.3 million more Americans left than came to California. And the people who are leaving are disproportionately those with higher incomes: the very targets the Democrats want to tax more.

The liberal fairy tale is that the rich “don’t pay their fair share.” The reality is that there’s no state in the country more dependent on six- and seven-figure earners to pay its bills. Those with incomes of more than $100,000 pay 83% of the state’s income taxes, and the richest 6,000 of the 38 million Californians pay $9 billion in taxes. Every time a rich person like Tiger Woods departs, the state fiscal problem deepens.

...

What the politicians in California refuse to address is their own overspending. State outlays were up 44% over the past five years, meaning that California is spending at a faster pace than even Congress. Minority Republicans in the Legislature say the solution is a hard expenditure cap – like 46 other states have. Yet even in the face of the giant deficit, Mr. Schwarzenegger and the Democrats want to pass a new $9 billion water bond, a $14 billion state-run health insurance program, and the most expensive climate-change program in the country.

Big states don’t need big taxes.  Here in Texas, a state without a movie industry or a silicon valley; a state with significant immigrant population and several big cities, we’ve managed to keep our state income tax rate at ... um ... let me check my return ... 0%.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 07/19/08 at 01:48 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Working for the Governator pays.

The state of California’s payroll is skyrocketing, even as its budget deficit has grown to billions of dollars in recent months.

In Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first four years, the total bill for state workers’ salaries jumped by 37 percent, compared with a 5 percent increase in the preceding four years under then-Gov. Gray Davis, a Chronicle analysis of state payroll records shows.

One month before Schwarzenegger took office in November 2003, just eight state employees earned more than $200,000 a year working in the core state government, which excludes universities and the Legislature. In April of this year, there were nearly a thousand, according to records.

And the number of state employees making six-figure salaries has more than doubled since 2003, to nearly 15,000. Meanwhile, the number of state workers has grown by 26,000 under Schwarzenegger after being cut by Davis, who was recalled from office in the midst of a severe budget crisis.

California-the Golden Goose State?

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 05/27/08 at 08:56 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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