Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘local government’



Dr. Hackenflack Answers Your Budget Questions

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

dr-hackenflackWith the defeat of the budget propositions and Sacramento in gridlock, readers are feeling anxious and depressed about state finances, and have flooded the mailbox of our Chief Political Psychiatrist and Barbecue Chef, Dr. P. J. Hackenflack. With the approval of the Calbuzz Ethics and Privacy Committee, the good doctor agreed to share some of his replies.

Dear Dr. Hackenflack
I heard that Arnold is giving a big speech on the budget today to all the members of the Legislature crowded together on the Assembly floor. What is he going say?
– Howard J. in Paradise
FIRE!!!!

Dear Doc,
I read where Arnold’s Chief of Staff Susan Kennedy said California’s tax structure is “too progressive.” How is that possible?
– Miss Vicky in Marin
She’s a recovering liberal who thinks rich people pay waayyy too much in income taxes.

Dear Dr. H.,
Do the Republican legislators have any innovative ideas for cutting the budget?
– Lonesome in Folsom
Yes. They’re pretty sure we can save billions by building new prisons right next to public high schools, so graduates can go directly to jail.

My Dear Doctor,
Some blog quoted Senator Feinstein as saying Californians deserve all the budget cuts ‘cuz they didn’t vote for Props 1A and 1B. What kind of leadership is that?
– Hope in Brentwood
It’s part of her three-pronged program for California: eat your vegetables, be in bed by 9 p.m. and go directly to the principal’s office at once.

Herr Professor Hackenflack,
Someone told me the Democrats have a plan to fix the budget and the water crisis the same time. What gives?
– Worried in Weed
Once a month, taxpayers toss cash into “The Peripheral Canal of Money,” which pumps it upstream, through the Delta, and directly into the treasury. It’s for the children.

Dear Esteemed Doctor,
The governor says he’s going to close all the state parks. Will they ever re-open?
– Smokey in Shasta
Yes. Before long, the 40,000 state employees that Governor eMeg plans to fire will be living in them.

Hey Doc,
Why doesn’t the governor just come out and tell us what he wants to do to keep California afloat?
– Bruce from Pasadena
Despite all his macho and muscles, he actually has no idea how to swim.

Dear Dr. Hackster,
Isn’t the answer to this whole budget mess giving local government the power to raise taxes with a majority vote?
– Edmund from Oakland
You need to check with Howard J. in Paradise.

Arnold’s Final Bid for Budget Ballot Props

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

heilarnoldArnold’s drop-by at his big press avail on the May budget revision was a case of the elephant giving birth to the mouse.

The administration has been putting out details of its worst-case/worser case scenarios for almost a week: more cuts for schools, early release of thousands of state prisoners, selling off everything but the Golden Gate Bridge. So there wasn’t a whole lot new in terms of the numbers, and the governor’s plaintive plea on behalf of his ballot props next Tuesday was definitely déjà vu all over again.

(The Department of Finance report on the two alternatives for addressing the deficit for the fiscal year that begins July 1 — $15.4 B if the props pass, $21.3 B if they don’t — is here.

That said, his Arnoldship did make at least a few interesting statements, starting with his introduction of Finance Director Mike Genest – “this man is on suicide watch” – that will frame yet another budget brawl, which will erupt next week as soon the election formalities are finished:

1-“To look for new revenues is out of the question.” It’s true that in negotiating this year’s budget deal, Schwarzenegger kept insisting that he’d never go for tax increases, right up until he did. But his position at this point is basically irrelevant; with the six Republican legislators who signed on to new taxes in February all being punished – by losing their leadership posts, facing recalls, or being shunned by the GOP caucus – it’s a safe bet that the death grip Reps hold on budget matters because of the 2/3rds requirement will now be tighter than ever. So look for lots of anti-tax triumphalism by the party of Grover Norquist, er, um, Lincoln.

2-“I absolutely despise taking money away from local government.” Besides looming battles over more cuts for education and cutting prisoners loose, the loudest fight will be over Schwarzenegger’s grab for $2 billion from local governments, in direct violation of his earlier promise not to do just that. With cities and counties scrambling to pay cops and firefighters while facing the same recession-level revenue problems as Sacramento, taking an extra hit so the Capitol Clown Show can pretend to balance the budget won’t be popular.

3-“You hope the economy is coming back.” That’s a bottom line underlying assumption of Schwarzenegger’s fiscal strategy at this point, whether the May 19 props pass or not. In addition to squeezing the locals by “borrowing” $2 billion, both his fixes also call for $6 billion in new borrowing through Revenue Anticipation Warrants and scheming to use federal stimulus money to backfill state cuts; in other words, kicking the can down the road, one more time.