California Budget Deal Reached

California Budget Deal Reached


Looks like they’ve finally come to an agreement, but at the expensive of the poor and elderly.

From LA Times:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders announced Monday that they had reached a deal to close California’s $26.3-billion deficit and begin paying all of the state’s bills again, potentially ending months of partisan wrangling and a cash crisis that threatens to push California into insolvency.

Their agreement, which could go before the full Legislature within days, does not include any broad-based tax increases, relying instead on deep cuts in government services, borrowing and accounting maneuvers to wipe out the deficit.

So what about the elderly and poor? Well, from reading about the following cuts it feels like Schwarzenegger really got his way.

That’s not to suggest he doesn’t care about the elderly and poor, but cutting back on social services and allowing off shore drilling is a pretty big cornerstone of current fiscal conservative philosophy…

Tens of thousands of seniors and children would lose access to healthcare, local governments would sacrifice several billion dollars in state assistance this year and thousands of convicted criminals could serve less time in state prison. Welfare checks would go to fewer residents, state workers would be forced to continue to take unpaid days off and new drilling for oil would be permitted off the Santa Barbara coast.

By the way, that little bit about criminals serving less time? The estimates suggest that nearly 20,000 people will be released early. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since sometimes more prison time leads to people becoming better criminals. Also, I’d imagine you could let the non-violent drug offenders go first.

Still, these cuts will hurt, and in a place as massive as California a lot of people can fall through the cracks. Now even more will.

  • Simon

    The cuts will hurt, but that’s what happens when you have chronic overspending for a long period. When an alcoholic gets the shakes during detox, the people to blame are the enablers who let him carry on, not the intervenors who stopped him.

    And if we don’t do something soon, the same tragedy is going to play out on the national agenda. Yet our enabler President wants to reach for the 140 proof healthcare spending bill, and a lot of those bemoaning what’s happened in California support his doing so, apparently oblivious of the contradiction.

  • ExiledIndependent

    Why doesn’t Arnie just make healthcare “budget neutral” and hand it out like candy?

  • wj

    Well, something had to be cut. In fact, a lot of things were.

    At the moment, however, there are not a whole lot of good options. Due (among other things) to the way Californians have used of referendums (not modifiable by the Legislature without another popular vote) to mandate particular bits of the budget.

    Really solving the problem long-term is going to require a wholesale rewrite of all of those mandates, and a different way of governing the state. Which is to say, it probably isn’t going to happen until we have gone thru this same painful process a few more times.

  • Guest

    The Sacramento Bee newspaper stated that while California has 12% of the population, we have 31% of the welfare population. Coincidentally, California has some of the most lax regulations on payments. Read the entire article.

  • Tully

    Tangential but related facts: California has 12% of the US population…and 32% of the nation’s welfare recipients. 60% of California state income taxes are paid by 3% of the residents, and they have the 6th highest state tax burden of US states. State spending increased by 133% over the last ten years. During the same period, gross state product only increased about half that.

  • Trescml

    California will be an interesting test case on if people want accept higher taxes for more state services or feel that lower taxes are worth lower services.

  • the Word

    These referendums came in after Reagan and have hurt governors of both parties as they are both so hamstrung that there is almost nothing they control but they are held responsible for everything. Lower taxes sound great until they had the libraries open one night a week. I think they probably did better than that during the revolutionary war. Simple minds crave simple solutions

  • Paul

    California is in danger of becoing a third world clone. You can’t spend, spend spend and escape having to pay the piper. Folks, there are no free lunches. The poor and elderly will suffer because of California politicians’ excesses!

  • mw

    You got a typo there Justin. You meant to say “at the expense

    “60% of California state income taxes are paid by 3% of the residents, and they have the 6th highest state tax burden of US states.” – tully

    C’mon Tully! – Get with the progressive “magical realism” program! Once you invoke “poor and elderly” or [FILL IN ANY FAVORITE VICTIMIZED CLASS HERE] incantations, new revenues should magically appear to solve the problem. The clear solution here, is to not cut spending, but get even more progressive with the tax code. I mean, realistically, is there any reason we can not move to 100% of the taxes being paid by the top 2% of the residents? And if there is not enough there, why not get really innovative? I propose that any shortfall in tax revenues be simply transferred as long term debt to the top 1% of income earning citizens of the state. That way, these rich bastards will not only have to pay us all their income now, but will be obligated to work for decades in the future to pay off the social spending that we all agree must be distributed now.

    See – these kind of problems have common sense progressive answers.