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California’s yearly state budget impasse

This blog entry could have been written any year of the last several! California is ONCE AGAIN without a state budget (for about a month now). (Note added August 19, 2008: Make that “about 2 months now.”) (Note added September 3, 2008: Make that “OVER 2 months now.”) Keep this in mind if you are thinking about moving here (or plan to work for the state), or if you are a vendor who sells things to the state. (Note added August 24, 2008: Even American Express likes to get paid!)

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently drew attention to the budget impasse by signing an order sending pink slips to 10,300 part-time and temporary workers and cutting pay for 200,000 full-time employees to the federal minimum wage until the Legislature passes a budget. (Update on August 7, 2008: KTVU TV news showed video last evening of Governor Schwarzenegger stating that he will VETO any bills that come to his desk for signature, unless the budget is passed, first. :-) Personally, I liked him better with a minigun in “Terminator 2,” but that was “art” and this is “life.” Do you see why people sometimes prefer art? :-) )

(Note added August 28, 2008: Governor Schwarzenegger recently made an exception to his statement, with regard to high-speed rail. It is good to know that SOMEONE in Sacramento knows how to be flexible! :-) )

The state faces an estimated $15.2 billion deficit (something to consider if you believe that one political party or another has “the answers” at the FEDERAL level). Although the YEARLY dollar amount of the deficit (in a state that recently was the 5th largest economy in the world) compares with recent statements of QUARTERLY profits by some large individual oil companies, it brings to mind a favorite quote of mine. The quote has been attributed (probably incorrectly) to Senator Everett Dirksen (1896-1969; a man I always admired for his hairstyle and intelligence if not always his politics), “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.” He apparently DID say, “The oil can is mightier than the sword.” and “When a member of the House moves over to the Senate, he raises the IQ of both bodies.” (Think about it. :-) )

It is good to remember, in this Presidential Election year, that BOTH major political parties seem to be recklessly pursuing their political agendas in California with disregard for the people whom they supposedly serve.

Guardian Adult Day Care Health Center (El Sobrante) Administrator Peter Behr (whose father served as a Republican state senator in the 1970s and 1980s) was quoted in the Contra Costa Times as saying, “I think they’re doing it on purpose,” he added. “Each party, and I’m mad at them both, seems to be taking the attitude that if they increase the pain for the people out here enough, they can bludgeon the other party to accept whatever they want.”

There seems to be a lot of merit (important to remember in November’s election) to the statement of Henry David Thoreau in his essay “Civil Disobedience” that “That government is best which governs not at all.” Unfortunately, there is a lot of residual maintenance of the entities created by government in the past. :-)

If you can live with a yearly budget impasse in a Legislature that loves to pass laws (but can’t seem to pass a budget), whether it understands them or not (or whether or not they are based on technologies whose real-life usefulness has been questioned), then by all means come to California to live!

‘How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.

‘You must be,’ said the Cat, ‘or you wouldn’t have come here.’


-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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