Friday, May 29, 2009
Bleeding - A California Budget Crisis Linkdump
There has been so much going on lately that I hardly know where to begin.
Aside of the obvious, there's the insane battle over the California state budget.
Personally, I still maintain that all we need to solve the budget crisis is to put a handful of single parents in a room with copies of the budget and red pens. Who else would be better at balancing a budget where the things we need (or want) significantly outweigh the money coming in?
Since the budget crisis is what has me seeing red today, here's a California budget crisis link dump:
Cuts the governor has proposed to help stem the $24.3B blood loss:
1. Cutting the salaries of state workers an additional 5%, on top of the almost 10% that was cut earlier this year in exchange for 2 furlough days per month. This would bring the total cuts to state worker salaries to almost 15%. Well. For those of us who still have jobs.
My favorite quote from the article:
"We have a very challenging time ahead of us," Schwarzenegger told reporters Thursday afternoon at the Capitol while promoting a $56,000 electric Hummer.
And, from this article:
"Everyone in the state is cutting back right now -- businesses, families," said Matt David, a spokesman for Schwarzenegger. "The governor feels it's very important that state workers do the same thing."
Because I guess it isn't possible that everyone in the state is cutting back right now because the cost of so many things is going so high and so many business are laying off workers wholesale. Sure. OK. Mandating further slowing of the California economy makes perfect sense.
And for those of you who enjoy hating on state workers, take a moment to read this.
2. Closing 220 state parks to public access. Included would be our favorite campground, Mount Diablo, Big Basin (having camped here, I cannot imagine how it's not breaking even at least... it's packed) and the Governor's Mansion (possibly my favorite kitchen of all time).
3. Closing the Healthy Families Program, which provides medical, dental and vision care to 900,000 children of low and moderate income families. Even though the state of California only shoulders one-third of the cost of the program (the federal government shoulders the remainder), and even though the $305M in savings is just a drop in the buckets. Advocates of the program warn that cutting this health care program will cause a greater burden to local critical care facilities.
4. The governor would also like to eliminate the CalWORKS program - rejecting $3.7B in federal grants to save the state its $1.8B share of the costs of the program. The state would also lose $600M in federal stimulus money.
Well, talk about "end(ing) welfare as we know it"!
Eliminating CalWORKS would essentially cut critical aid to approximately 521,000 of California's neediest families. I would expect that the majority of these families will become homeless in short order.
5. Dismantling the Cal Grant program (as the University of California system raises fees by 10% and the California State University system raises fees by 9.3%)(didn't University used to be free in California?)
6. Oh, and did I mention the thing about letting prisoners out early and "borrowing" money from cities and counties (which, wait, didn't the state reduce or eliminate the amount of money it gives to cities and counties?)? The money the governor intends to borrow comes from property taxes collected in counties (*ahem*)(oh, and *ahem*).
7. Oh, and don't forget about the proposal to further cut school spending by another $680M.