Saturday, January 10, 2009

Libertopia On The Way?

Not quite, but the Sacramento Bee reports it looks like some state offices will be closing a couple days a month due to the budget crisis. Be interesting to see if anybody notices although I'm sure some folks might get pissed off if they find the DMV is closed after they've driven some distance to take care of business there.

What gets me is the attitude of some- and not just among state employees- that cutting a state employees' hours should not even be on the table. They think those employees have a right to their jobs and hours, no matter what the expense to the taxpayer. And we're not even talking layoffs here. We're talking about an involuntary three day weekend twice a month.

When you don't have the money to pay them, you don't have the money. What part of that do these people not understand?

Oh, if asked for a login to the Sacramento Bee web site, you can use humboldtlib for the username and blogspot for the password, as always.

7 Comments:

At 9:31 AM, Blogger lodgepole said...

My guess is they're union, so their expectations may be inflated.

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger Rose said...

California is toast. The Dems won't allow any spending cuts. Businesses are leaving the state in droves because of the unfriendly business climate and the high taxes, fees, and regulatory costs - that means less money for the state.

Coupled with the unprecedented national meltdown... and the pervasive entitlement mentality - do you you see any HOPE of fixing this?

 
At 12:48 PM, Blogger Fred said...

"do you you see any HOPE of fixing this?".

Nope. When the you have a state where a 3% increase (3 billion dollars) in spending results in supposed drastic cuts it certainly seems hopeless.

Then add an electorate that keeps reelecting those that caused the problem and voting for bond issues despite massive debt, I just don't see any way out of it.

We need to re- establish the old Gann Spending Limits that pretty much restricted spending increases to account for population growth and inflation. That generally held spending increases to 5% a year. The state plugged along pretty well back when the Gann Limits had some teeth, or so I've been told.

Since then, the votes have pretty much neutered those limits with so many spending requirements and formulas aided and abetted by the state legislature. I propose a solution, although implementation would likely be impossible in this state:

The state legislature needs to pass a spending limitation pretty much along the line of the old Gann Limits. At the same time, they need to pass legislation that repeals all the automatic spending increase formulas voters have passed since the Gann Limits were enacted way back then.

The legislature can't do it by themselves legally, I don't think, so they'd have to put those issues up as a referendum so the voters could approve or reject them.

Once you got the limits on spending, you'd still have to make up for the deficit, and that might require some tax increases. However, without spending caps, tax increases are meaningless as we'd just have to increase taxes again in a year or two.

Once that is on the way to being done, I'd suggest keeping spending increases to no more than 3%- same as the last budget- until revenues catch up with expenditures. After that, keep spending increases limited to no more than 5%. Establish a rainy day fund with surpluses up to some amount. After surpluses reach a certain level, any surpluses should be returned to taxpayers as rebates.

That seems to have worked elsewhere, from what I've heard. Problem is, this is California and I understand no one is even considering spending caps in this latest budget wrangling, although I heard the Governator's spokesman say those aren't needed because of something else that they did.

Doesn't matter. Voters wouldn't likely accept such spending restrictions despite the common sense behind it. After all, Democrats rule the state.

 
At 8:11 AM, Blogger Rose said...

Yep, Fred. You are right.

I do think that the term limits thing, which served its purpose (to get Willie Brown out of his entrenched position of absolute power) is responsible for some of this mess.

You now have a constant turnover (except in cases like Humboldt where they keep recycling the same old faces in a game of musical chairs that never ends) - you now have new people all the time, with no intitutional knowledge, no need to be fiscally conservative because they won't be around long enough to see any results,, and many of them are just using that elected seat as a stepping stone to the next one.

We've created a situation where the institutional knowledge is in the hands of the lobbyists and staffers, who are then much more able to direct the temporary elected officials.

Nobody is accountable, and nobody cares.

When your elected official is spending his/her time in caucus meetings plotting how to block the other side, rather than on how to actually solve this problem, that's is where the problem lies.

 
At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

State waste = CDF/CalFire. Fulltime crew of Fire Captains, Fire Chiefs, Battalion Chiefs, etc hiding out and trying to look busy from November to June while making close to 6 figures and dreamin of their fat Calpers retirement.

 
At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, you wrote:
"What gets me is the attitude of some- and not just among state employees- that cutting a state employees' hours should not even be on the table. They think those employees have a right to their jobs and hours, no matter what the expense to the taxpayer. And we're not even talking layoffs here. We're talking about an involuntary three day weekend twice a month."

I see.
In there where you say:
"They think those employees have a right to their jobs and hours, no matter what the expense to the taxpayer...."

HOW exactly, is that any different an attitude than anyone working anywhere has?

When you are laid off, you are laid off. Public or private.

People keep talking like cutting peoples JOBS will save the state economy!??

Uh, yeah, right.

 
At 8:08 PM, Blogger Fred said...

In the private sector, if people can't afford to pay for something, they stop buying it. Not so in the public sector, at least according to our public employee unions.

 

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