Our View: Dear Legislature, the check is in the mail
Here’s our budget solution for the state of California: Write IOUs to all elected officials who work for the state until it passes. All senators, representatives and the governor would then be pressed to pass the budget, or work for free.
After all, this is what the Governor requested in Thursday’s State of the State speech to the legislature, when he asked that all state projects stop until the $42 billion deficit is addressed. While calling it a “rock upon our chest,” he pushed lawmakers to find a balanced budget quickly.
He was right ” time is running out ” as we are feeling the pinch already. Our own school district is short $3 million, our road and conservation projects are on hold, and charities dependent upon state grants are preparing to cut services up to 70 percent.
While we agree with the governor that most of the deficit is due to overspending, we also believe taxes must be increased to negate the downturn of the economy. One proposal we approve of is increasing the cigarette tax by $2, which would be a short-term fix.
Schwarzenegger’s latest budget plan proposes $17.4 billion in spending cuts, $14.3 billion in tax increases and $10 billion in borrowing to close the deficit through June 2010. The Democrats would cut less.
Unfortunately, the Republican minority, which has the power to block a budget deal, has refused to consider tax increases and is now sitting on the sidelines.
Both sides are going to have to agree to massive spending cuts, at least a temporary tax increase and a multiyear spending cap to prevent any future budget crisis.
For now, while they withhold state tax returns and pay state employees with IOUs, we can only shake our heads. Any one being affected by the economic downturn would be foolish to squabble and procrastinate for months on end, as they would risk losing everything. We would be naive to think as a state that we can act any differently.
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