Tuesday, March 17, 2009

California Is Fucked Again

California Is Fucked Again

If you need a reason to drink today, here's a big one. You may have remember when we went to hell and back to pass a budget to plug a ~$40 billion hole, the one that was signed on feb 20th? Welp here we are again:
Budget analyst sees new $8 billion deficit
The Legislature's budget analyst, Mac Taylor, declared today that the immense package of spending cuts, new taxes and loans aimed at closing the state's $40 billion budget deficit will fall short by $8 billion because the state's economy is continuing to falter.

"Unfortunately, the state's economic and revenue outlook continues to deteriorate," the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) said in a review of the package, which covered the remainder of this fiscal year and all of the next.

"Even in the few weeks since the budget was signed, there have been a series of negative developments. Our updated revenue forecast projects that revenues will fall short of the assumptions in the budget package by $8 billion. Consequently, the Legislature and governor will need to adopt billions of dollars in additional solutions in the coming months to bring the 2009-10 budget back into balance."

Taylor had some more bad news for the state's political leaders. Because so many of the "solutions" adopted last month are temporary, "without corrective actions, the state's huge operating deficits will reappear in future years - growing from $12.6 billion in 2010-11 to $26 billion in 2013-14."

Taylor said that to close the newly discovered $8 billion gap, the state should maximize its use of federal "stimulus" funds and "continue developing programmatic solutions, especially those his office has been recommending in recent months but the Legislature and the governor shunned in adopting their package last month.

The LAO report will renew the Capitol's partisan and ideological squabbling over spending cuts and new taxes and fuel calls on the left for even more tax increases and those on the right for deeper spending cuts. The full LAO report may be found here.
It took 21 days by my count to find $8 billion more debt. Looks like we're pretty much fucked, right? What the hell are they doing up in Sacramento, throwing money into the pacific? I guess I could blame Arnold. It's certainly not the first time an Austrian ran a state into the ground.

But the general feeling from those I talk to is that Arnold is trying but completely ham stringed by the house. When the guy who goes in on a platform of "I didn't need to take special interest money for my campaign! " Meets an entire judiciary who does, there's not a whole lot one man can do no matter how well-intentioned. And every concession he makes just further gridlocks the whole process.

Arnold would have made a good benevolent dictator, but with the seeping wall of scum on both sides of the aisle nothing's ever going to improve. If we're going to toss a scape goat to the mix we might as well pin it to Pete Wilson. He fucked things up so badly it would take an entire convoy of eunuchs to get them unfucked. Grey Davis just continued the pioneering fucking by Pete Wilson. Where else can we lay blame? Let's do the numbers.

1) republicans hard lining on any sort of tax increase with an extreme willingness to cannibalize any republican who votes for one
2) prop 13 prevents us from raising property taxes
3) we got fucked hard hard hard when the dot com bubble burst
4) then we got fucked again when the housing bubble burst
5) requires 2/3 super majority to pass budget so a few republicans (see 1) can stall process indefinitely
6) but voters can vote for any spending they damned well please with a 50% vote in an election but raising taxes again takes 2/3
7) not smart enough to have made a rainy day fund when things were good
8) people who live in California are Californians and thus retarded

A little more alarming is that Friday was Pink Slip Friday. A lot of teachers got their pink slip. So while we're finding more debt, we're also slashing public education by millions. Oddly enough we're also increasing funds to prisons by 9%. I think something is wrong with this picture. Can you tell me what it is?
Based on current spending trends, California's prison budget will overtake spending on the state's universities in five years. No other big state in the country spends close to as much on its prisons compared with universities.

But California has all but guaranteed that prisons will eat up an increasingly large share of taxpayer money because of chronic failures in a system that the state is now planning to expand.

Under a new state law, California will spend $7.4 billion to build 40,000 new prison beds, and that is over and above the current annual operating budget of more than $10 billion. Interest payments alone on the billions of dollars of bonds that will be sold to finance the new construction will amount to $330 million a year by 2011 -- all money that will not be available for higher education or other state priorities.


According to the May revisions of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget, the state will spend $10 billion on prisons in fiscal 2007-08, a 9 percent increase from last year.
Civil servants make more than rookie professional school grads. Oh, and half the state is employed as prison guards. the other half is in prison which really makes for an interesting revenue / spending problem. Nobody in social services gets paid well. Supported Living attendants get $9.50/hr.

Fuck the department of corrections and everyone involved with their budget. I can't think of a bigger waste of money other than if the prisons were run by AIG. On second thought, since they're getting so much fuckin' money they should be put to work running the prisons. I'm sure they'll burn to the ground within a month of their take over.

I'm just going to throw it out there but abolishing the death penalty in California would save the state 63.3 million. Just saying.

It's not like we're helping our own case here. Especially when California cities are buying and selling stimulus funds at a discount.

So basically, the federal government gives a city money for roads, and they sell that road money for 60% of face to another city for unrestricted cash. Imagine how bad that would be if they were trading stuff like medical or education funds.

I can sympathize. I was playing sim city and balancing the budget is really hard. in sim city putting prisons all over your shit makes you money.

As for the random pictures in this post? Well, I just want to highlight some of the better things of the state. Some of the reasons why we need to save ourselves from... ourselves.

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