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Reform spending? In Califoreclosure? Like that will happen

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POSTED July 8, 2009 2:19 a.m.
Why, they ask up in Sacramento, don’t people trust us?

There are at least two million reasons why.

That happens to be the amount California State University Chancellor Charles Reed spent of your money to hire high-priced private sector lobbyists to lobby your state representatives to get even more of your money.

If that sounds outrageous, you haven’t heard anything yet.

Reed spent the money without seeking bids and did so on top of $1.1 million plus in tax dollars annually that pays for an in-house CSU lobbying unit that has state employees pushing CSU related bills an monitoring their progress through the legislature.

Let’s see, Reed is doing this amid massive state budget cuts, faculty layoffs, student tuition increases, and follows on the heels of Reed’s generosity with your money doling out millions in 2006 to campus presidents and other CSU executives who retired from their jobs.

The audacity of Reed and his cohorts makes Marie “Let Them Eat Cake” Antoinette seem like the patron saint of poor people.

The private sector lobbyists hired on your dime did more than just work to shake down the 120 legislators for more taxpayer loot. They monitored a wide range of bills that Reed was interested in including a sex offender bill, money laundering bill, and legislation to provide affordable housing for Iraq war veterans.

The reaction from legislative leaders? Ho-hum, no big deal.

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass is in Day Two of her temper tantrum of boycotting budget talks because Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger won’t roll over and play dead. The Governator is being mean because he’s demanding real reform on how the state spends money needs to be part of any budget deal.

Bass thinks this is an affront to Californians.
I’ve got news for you, lady. How Sacramento conducts business as unusual is an affront to Californians.

It’s things such as Reed’s $2.4 million hiring of his own private lobbyists with state money that are an affront to Californians. It is perfect example of why we’re in the financial mess we’re in. The line between essential services and soy extender is so blurred that Mr. Magoo has 20-20 vision by comparison.

Say what you want about Schwarzenegger but he’s definitely right on this one.

Balancing the budget without real reform in how this state does businesses is a complete waste of time for several reasons. First, property taxes are expected to take a major hit next year. Since the state hijacked money from the cities and counties a decade ago to cover growing education costs, most property taxes collected in this state ultimately fund education which happens to be the biggest state budget ticket item by far. The slash and tax solution would probably have a shelf life shorter than a Slurpee at high noon on the Fourth of July in Death Valley. It would simply guarantee another huge deficit in a matter of months.

Second- and by far more important – there is a structural problem with how we spend and tax. They’ve known it for years up in Sacramento. To tackle it, though, they’d have to set aside their egos on pet projects and ignore constituencies that they are beholden.

Twenty years ago when Dianne Feinstein assumed the mayor’s job in San Francisco, the city was taking an economic dive. She went to the business community and asked what needed to be done. These weren’t the Enron type of shysters but businesses that had a huge stake in the long-term success of The City and whose leadership loved San Francisco.

What they told her was the need to cut certain taxes – and regulations – and to impose other taxes. Feinstein set aside her ideological bent and took the pragmatic course. It worked.

The bottom line? Taxes that impeded economic growth were dropped and replaced with others that didn’t. As a result, business started returning to San Francisco and revenue went up.

Such a pragmatic approach isn’t going to work any time in soon Sacramento where people are chanting in the Capitol hallways that budget cuts to programs that they have a hand out to receive either are going to kill off people, destroy California, or make our young people the stupidest living beings on the face of the earth.

It’s sad state of affairs when taxpayers are used as pawns in the master plan of mega-bureaucrats like Reed to build fiefdoms and then are treated like chattel when it comes to state leadership unwilling to detox through true reform and instead embrace the ruinous addiction of taxing and spending California into oblivion.
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