September 2008 Archives

The "Pass The Buck" Budget

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes Favorites
After months of playing "chicken" the yearly California budget compromise ritual once again passes the buck to the next year.  Everyone breathes a sigh of relief that the "stalemate" is over.

But the problems aren't solved at all, they're worse.  Next year this will happen again but because of this year and previous years' so-called "solutions" it will be that much harder to agree on a budget.  So if you thought this year was bad...

Friday Dan Walters, in, Revised state budget is still a sham, wrote that the budget,
...remains a stopgap budget filled with accounting gimmicks and questionable "spending cuts" and "revenues" - and still leaves the state's fiscal house in great disorder. It makes little, if any, headway on closing what those in the Capitol call the "structural deficit" - the chronic gap between revenues and spending that was plaguing the state even before its economy went into the tank.
and wrote yesterday,
They violated every principle of fiscal responsibility by conjuring up billions of dollars in sham revenues -- basically money borrowed from corporate and personal taxpayers that would have to be paid back later -- to cover a huge deficit so they could blow town.
Senate President pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) said,
"I have agreed with the Governor to make some tweaks to the budget we sent him. I'm not proud of this budget - it just kicks the can down the road. But the reality is, Democrats agreed to nearly $10 billion in tough cuts while the Governor could not get a single Republican vote for the $5 billion in new revenue we need to close this gap and solve the problem."
That's right, once again a small minority was able to get their way by refusing to participate in normal, civil,, give-and-take negotiation.  They are able to do this because the public doesn't really know what is happening in Sacramento, only that no budget is passing.  So therefore it must be everyone's fault equally -- even if it isn't.
 

Comments (0)
Next week I will be in New York to blog from the Clinton Global Initiative, as I have done from two previous CGIs.  I'll be blogging for Social Edge.  Take a look at my first post there, and stop in there to see what's up.  I will also be updating here at Speak Out California.

This will be a VERY interesting event, as it takes place with so many world and business leaders attending during the current turmoil in the financial world -- and at the same time as the annual United Nations General Assembly.

I received this in my email:
The following are among those who have confirmed their attendance at the 2008 CGI Annual Meeting: Queen Rania Al-Abdullah (Jordan), Prime Minister Gordon Brown (UK), President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa (Mexico), President Leonel Fernández (Dominican Republic), President Armando Guebuza (Mozambique), President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (Liberia), President Paul Kagame (Rwanda), President Hamid Karzai (Afghanistan), President Shimon Peres (Israel), Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (Australia), President Jalal Talabani (Iraq), UN Secretary Genereal Ban Ki-moon, former Prime Minister Tony Blair (UK), former President Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico), former Vice President Al Gore (United States), Senator John McCain (Arizona), Senator Barack Obama (Illinois), Mayor Bill White (Houston), former Senator Bill Frist (Tennessee), Jacques Aigrain (Swiss Re), Muhammad Ali (Athletes for Hope), Bradbury Anderson (Best Buy), Lance Armstrong (Lance Armstrong Foundation), Craig Barrett (Intel), Maria Bartiromo (CNBC), Bono (ONE), Tom Brokaw (NBC News), Lester Brown (Earth Policy Institute), John Chambers (Cisco), Peter Chernin (News Corporation), Former Army General Wesley Clark (UCLA's Burkle Center for International Relations; Emergya Wind Technologies, BV), Ian Davis (McKinsey & Company), Paul Farmer (Partners in Health), Bill Gates, Bob Geldof, David Gergen (Harvard University), Neville Isdell (The Coca-Cola Company), Wyclef Jean (Yéle Haiti), Ashley Judd, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (Riverkeeper Alliance; NRDC), Anne Lauvergeon (Areva), Wangari Maathai (Green Belt Movement, Kenya), Amre Moussa (League of Arab States), Dikembe Mutombo (Dikembe Mutombo Foundation), R.K. Pachauri (TERI), T. Boone Pickens (BP Capital), Victor Pinchuk (The Victor Pinchuk Foundation), Carl Pope (Sierra Club), Judith Rodin (Rockefeller Foundation), Robert Rubin (Citi), Joseph Saunders (Visa Inc), Josette Sheeran (World Food Programme), Dominique Strauss-Kahn (IMF), Barbara Streisand (The Streisand Foundation), Myron Ullman (J.C. Penny's), Ann Veneman (UNICEF), and Muhammad Yunus (Grameen Bank).

Both United States presidential candidates will have a role in the Annual Meeting. Senator John McCain will deliver the opening remarks live at the "Integrated Solutions: water, food and energy" plenary session. Senator Barack Obama will address meeting participants via satellite.



Comments (0)

Friday morning's San Francisco Chronicle story, Legislature's approval rating at a record low, illustrates why California's budget impasse continues. From the article,

"Democrats and the minority Republicans have hunkered down, with neither side willing to make the compromises needed to put together a budget plan that can garner the required two-thirds support."
The budget problem is that reporting like this keeps the public from understanding what is happening in Sacramento.

Here is what is happening with the budget:


  • The Democrats have offered plan after plan, accepting deep budget cuts, some borrowing and offering various ways to raise revenue.

  • The Governor has offered a plan, with deep budget cuts, borrowing, and a temporarysales tax increase.

  • The Republicans have refused to compromise, refusing any budget that raises any revenue at all, not even asking the extremely wealthy to pay the same sales taxes that the rest of us have to pay.

It is just that simple. The Republicans have been blocking the budget and they are getting away with it because the press refuses to report that the Republicans are blocking the budget. If the press reported this simple fact public pressure would build and the Republicans would have to yield.

Update - A comment on the possible budget "compromise": It just kicks the can down the road by delaying dealing with our problems. It doesn't fix anything, and cuts essential services from the people who need government most. In fact it just makes it much, much harder to solve the problem in the next budget because it steals revenue from next year.


Comments (0)

California's elected Republicans continue to block any and all efforts to pass a budget, because any honest budget must ask the wealthy and big corporations to pay their fair share. Even the Governor's extremely modest one cent sales tax increase was too much for them.

So let's talk about paying a fair share. David Sirota has a good column today at the Campaign for America's Future blog, The Aristocrats, Part II - Starring George Will. In the column Sirota writes about wealthy Republicans who complain when regular people get decent pay for performing services that benefit ... guess who ... wealthy Republicans. Sirota writes,

In a column about underfinanced municipal pension systems today, Will expresses deep anger that veteran police, firefighters and municipal workers eventually get paid well for their services. In one California town on San Francisco Bay, Will tells us that - gasp! - "after just five years, all police and firefighters are guaranteed lifetime health benefits." The horror.

Such salaries and benefits, of course, are part of a bargain: Enticing people to turn down the high-paying private-sector job and instead run into burning buildings (firefighters), do the dangerous work of apprehending criminals (police), disposing of sewage (garbage collectors) and administrating all the other services that conservatives pretend aren't necessary (municipal workers) requires, well, an enticement - namely, the promise that making such a public-minded choice will result in decent and stable pay and benefits.

When you accept a public sector job, that's the bargain: In exchange for being willing to do a tough job and accepting that you won't have the chance to make hundreds of millions dollars like a corporate CEO, you are rewarded with the chance - if you play by the rules - to make a pretty good living.

Yes, there is a BARGAIN at work here. We, the People have built a system that has been working pretty darn well for the rich. We built a system of roads, schools, courts, police departments and firefighters. We built up a system of laws. We work in the factories and offices.


Comments (0)

Last week, after months of blocking every single budget and budget compromise the Republicans revealed a budget proposal of their own. This was months later than it should have been, and does little good at this point. Of course it was widely panned and was voted down.

So what was in their budget? They offer a few new cuts -- beyond the Governor's already proposed cuts -- in the "big government" they complain about. They refuse to raise revenues from any source.

Mostly, what the Republicans want to do is borrow. This is the big, responsible solution they offer: more and more borrowing. They want to borrow $2 billion from future lottery revenue. This, of course, means that $2 billion won't be there when needed because they have been borrowed and spent it now.

It costs money to borrow. We have to pay interest. We also have to pay back the borrowed money. This adds up.

Remember, much of the current budget shortfall is because we are already paying interest on previous borrowing. All those bonds that Schwarzenegger floated to meet previous shortfalls without raising revenue were certainly not free.

But there are also other costs. The Republicans offer cuts in health care, assistance to the disabled (including housecleaning and home care) and of course help for the poor. Those cuts mean layoffs and income cuts and these will ripple out through the ecosystem that depends on the purchases these funds would have meant. This at a time of pending recession.

This is all instead of asking rich yacht and private jet buys to pay the same sales taxes the rest of us pay on everything we buy.

This is all instead of asking big oil companies to pay a fee to drill oil in our state to sell back to us for huge profits.

This is all instead of asking huge corporations to pay a reasonable commercial property tax.

This is all instead of asking vastly wealthy individuals to pay their fair share in return for the wealth they gained from the infrastructure that all of us built.

Shame on them. A small minority has been able to block California from passing a budget. They use money from these vastly wealthy individuals and corporations to run deceitful ads to keep just enough of them in office to block the things that will help the people of California restore our infrastructure and economy, just so a few wealthy interests can have a few extra bucks.


Comments (0)

From Speaker Pelosi

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes Favorites
The following was submitted by Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi:

When I was sworn in as the first woman Speaker of the House in January, my 8-year-old granddaughter Madeleine said she hoped because of my step forward, more women would also be able to have jobs like mine. With those words, Madeleine spoke a simple but powerful truth: Without the pioneering women who have blazed the trail before us, we would not have come nearly as far as we have today.

When I proudly assumed the role of Speaker, it was with a nod to both the past and to the future. It was in honor of those pioneering suffragettes and women whose tenacity and sacrifice allowed me to become the first woman Speaker. And it was in honor of our children, who represent our hope for the future and for change. At the time, I said that we have made history, and now we must make progress.


Comments (0)
OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Join Our Mailing List
Email:




About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2008 is the previous archive.

October 2008 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.