Dr. Hackenflack Answers Your Budget Questions
With 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
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.
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.
In case you do not remember, we have the 2/3 vote reqt because local government raised taxes with a simple majority and the people revolted!
“and the people revolted”.
Wow, I love a good myth. Anyone have some hot chocolate and mashmellows so we can sit around a fire and tell tales?
Howard Jarvis was fronting the rich and powerful, manipulating the situation to serve the interets of his masters. It is no revolution to get people to cut their taxes on the baiss of lies about the impact on essential services.
Yawn! You anonymous rightwing hacks are boring!
“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.”
As a former resident of LA, I endorse this plan.
To Dana Gabbard,
It might be more correct to say that the LA County Assessor up the assessed valuation on a bunch of real estate and the voters passed Prop 13 overwhelmingly. As quaint as it may sound, little old ladies on fixed incomes were being forced out of their houses by rising property taxes tied to large increases in their assessed valuations. Javis may ridden the wave of voter/taxpayer anger but county officials touched off the tsunami that swamped California politicos. And it was no lie that the SOC was sitting on a very large budget surplus and doing nothing to minimize the homeowner pain. The people (voters and taxpayers) did revolt. I was there and I voted for it.
Mike, it may be true “… LA County Assessor up the assessed valuation on a bunch of real estate” But wasn’t the property going up in value? Everyone wants the benefit of property doubling etc. in value in a few years but heavens, don’t expect me to pay more taxes as a result. Maybe SOC had a budget suplus and the politicians misplayed dealing with the anger that was building, but Prop 13 was a sledgehammer approach and the attempt to portray it as some holy from on high gift isn’t very accurate. A lot more was going on and we all stuill pay the cost of the lies told then. The impending budget slashes will reveal that smaller goverment means taking away things from everyone vs. the anti-tax types who always claim “Of course [fill in the blank] will still be done”. No free lunch, folks!
And those little old ladies are now trapped in their houses, because selling and buying a smaller place would involve a huge increased tax bill. That is why that guy a year or so ago West L.A. had a string of breakins of large houses owned by empty nest widows.
I wish the setup line of this piece was true, that “Sacramento was in gridlock.”
I see no evidence of gridlock. Instead, the Democrats have become allies in the Grover Norquist war on government, combining their persaonl rage at the insubordinate electorate with a passionless acceptance of devastating budget cuts. They condemn Republican unity on taxes, but then are equally united on slashing spending.
Mark Leno sounds like a cross between David Stockman and Mr. Spock — logically explaining to us why these programs have to be cut to the bone. Karen Bass keeps saying “we shouldn’t do this” as if she were sitting on the sidelines watching a poorly called play on the field. Darrell Steinberg can barely contain his smug “I warned you I was going to do this if you defeated my initiatives!” face, despite the fact that almost no one who voted in the special “raise your own taxes” election is being targeted by these cuts.
Boy do I miss John Burton, John Vasconcellos, and Phil Burton. The current Democrats are either too heartless, too incompetent, or both, to solve this crisis. They have given the Republicans, who are in the minority, power over revenue and given the Governor, who is an idiot, power over expenditures.
For themselves, the Democrats have reserved nothing but the power of shame.
Wow. Amen to Anon 4:38 — I couldn't agree more. Are there any real Democrats left in Sacramento?