Friday, May 21, 2010

The Golden State?

I deeply love my native state, but what is currently going on with the state government is not a process to which one can place much affection, per this article from the Wall Street Journal.

An excerpt.

“Last week California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said revised budget numbers show the state is now $19 billion in debt. Say what? This is like a Hollywood horror story that has a new sequel every six months. The income and sales tax increases enacted last year were supposed to stanch the red ink, but the debt keeps rising.

“Mr. Schwarzenegger said that the "budget process is broken" -- no kidding -- and that the state now faces a "Sophie's Choice" of bad and worse options. His new budget calls for the elimination of whole programs and large reductions in health and welfare services.

“Democrat Darrell Steinberg, the senate president, called the proposals a "non-starter" and said he was "disappointed that the governor has chosen to surrender." Democrats hope to wait out the crisis until lame duck Arnold is gone from office in seven months, but by then California might be Greece. The state already has the worst bond rating in the country.

“Everyone knows that a main source of these fiscal woes is pension obligations, yet Democrats continue to resist substantive reform. "The cost of employee retirement benefits this year is $6.1 billion," said Mr. Schwarzenegger. "That is more than what it would cost to keep [the welfare-to-work program] CalWorks, child care, mental health services and in-home supportive services."