Mark the date of May 19, 2009.
It could end up being the date historians look back at and herald as the day California voters overthrew the government.
There are six band-aids on the special election ballot designed – in a best case scenario – to keep the state government as we now know it on life support. In the worst case scenario, the state will have the financial equivalent of an 8.0 earthquake collapsing many pillars of government that we’ve come to see as entitlements.
Yes “we” not “them.”
At the end of the day regardless of how self-serving, arrogant, power mad, incompetent or sleazy the people are we elected to represent us in Sacramento, they have done what the majority of us wanted them to do which is nothing.
We said didn’t want them to raises taxes or increase spending. Yet we demanded new services using the same head-in-the-sand logic that got people to use their homes as ATM machines or to assume recklessly that house prices would keep rising so when the day of reckoning came to pay the piper you either refinanced or sold for a tidy product.
California has been living on borrowed time and money just like those homeowners who bought beyond their means and then hit the credit line to buy big toys and charge dinner at Applebee’s over nine-years.
The “our way or no way” factions on both sides of the aisle cobbled together a solution that is anything but a solution. If all measures pass, the state legislative analyst is predicting a $10 billion shortfall.
We are being urged to vote for the ballot measures because we have no choice. If they don’t pass, California government as we now know it will cease to exist.
Is that really a bad thing?
Can we really afford more than 50 county offices of education when perhaps a dozen or so super regional support centers to oversee and assists local school districts would do just fine?
Do we really need the state telling every local school district how to spend money through categorical programs? It diverts more and more money into special needs at the expense of educating those who are going to be called on to carry the proverbial water as future taxpayers.
Do we really need three separate post-secondary college systems?
Do we need triple and quadruple layers of environment reviews from the state? Why not create a super environmental agency, slash staffs, and streamline the process? Can’t do that, of course, as every constituency must be pampered to with a full blown sub-agency, agency or commission.
Do we really need an army that seems to rival the Red Guard under Mao to staff the state Department of Education? Of course you do as long as the state keeps mandating new programs that require extensive paperwork. These are always pitched as making life easier in the classroom for teachers but who is fooling who? The more staff needed to keep the paperwork flowing means less money in the classroom.
The legislature’s mush-like backbone isn’t helping either. There are constitutional ways to rewrite laws that could ease situations that have gotten the state into high costs involving everything from prisons to government aide. Other states survive reasonably well under the oversight of the same U.S. Supreme Court. Yet in California, prisoners are posed to get better health care than taxpayers. Our politicians simply say they have no choice as the courts are in control.
It’s called abdication of responsibility. Let’s say for a moment that the legislature is right which means the cost of court decisions have indeed inflated the cost of government across the spectrum from schools to prisons. If that’s the case then the best way to vote on May 19 is no, no, no, no, no, no.
Either our spineless legislators who pander to the electorate instead of acting like responsible leaders got us to where we are at or else it was the courts. Give them what they deserve. Force courts to take over day-to-day management of the state since they confidently go about literally legislating from the bench. In all likelihood it is a combination of the abovementioned ailments and our tendency as Californians to act like teens who don’t know the value of a dollar yet we keep spending it faster than our parents can earn it.
California government went from 40 years ago being envied as the leanest, meanest and most progressive state government in the nation to having a massive gut fed by a fatty diet of questionable programs and expenditures.
It’s time to pull the plug on California state government as we have come to know it.