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Thread: Deep cuts could reshape California

  1. #1
    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    Default Deep cuts could reshape California

    LOS ANGELES — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger did not get the election results he sought. Now he seems determined to show California voters the consequences.

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, left, with Mike Genest, California’s finance director.

    In a special election on May 19, voters rejected a batch of measures on increasing taxes, borrowing funds and reapportioning state money that were designed to close a multibillion-dollar budget gap. The cuts Mr. Schwarzenegger has proposed to make up the difference, if enacted by the Legislature, would turn California into a place that in some ways would be unrecognizable in modern America: poor children would have no health insurance, prisoners would be released by the thousands and state parks would be closed.

    Nearly all of the billions of dollars in cuts the administration has proposed would affect programs for poor Californians, although prisons and schools would take hits, as well.

    “Government doesn’t provide services to rich people,” Mike Genest, the state’s finance director, said on a conference call with reporters on Friday. “It doesn’t even really provide services to the middle class.” He added: “You have to cut where the money is.”

    In less than two weeks, the administration has gone from warning residents that a vote against the budget measures would send the state — some $24 billion in the red — into utter turmoil to sanguine acceptance that “the people have spoken” and that the government must move on.

    And so it is that administration officials have been sent off to talk to the Legislature and hold conference calls about the latest proposed blows to state programs, while Mr. Schwarzenegger largely tends to other aspects of governing. He was in Livermore on Friday dedicating the world’s largest laser system (for sustaining nuclear fusion), and has updated his Twitter feed. “Backstage at the Tonight Show,” one tweet said.

    The measures proposed by the administration to balance the budget, including the $2.8 billion in cuts outlined on Friday, are unlike any proposed to the state’s social services in a generation.

    Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, is threatening to eliminate the Healthy Family Program, the state’s health insurance program that covers over 900,000 children and is financed with state and federal money, as well as the state’s main welfare program, known as Cal-Works, which provides temporary financial assistance to poor families and a caregiver for the severely disabled.

    The $1 billion in cuts to programs for the poor would be met with $680 million in new cuts to education and a 5 percent salary reduction for state employees, many of whom are already enduring furloughs.

    These proposals, as well as those that would make cuts to state parks, the prison system and other state agencies, are winding their way through Sacramento now, where they will be voted on by committees and eventually the full Legislature.

    Some of the proposed cuts are clearly saber rattling on the governor’s part, but there is a nervous acceptance among lawmakers, advocates for the poor and outside budget experts that the state is out of money and time.

    If lawmakers sign off on closing the health insurance program for children whose families make too much to qualify for Medicaid, California would be the first state in the nation to close the popular program. Begun in 1997, the program, known as S-CHIP, reimburses states at a higher rate than for Medicaid to deliver health insurance to children and teenagers. With the cuts to Medicaid, the state would probably increase its number of uninsured people by nearly 2 million, the California Budget Project says.

    “As the nation is debating how to move forward to provide broader health care coverage,” said Diane Rowland, the executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, “for a state to be scaling back coverage for children would be a major challenge. This program means a lot to working families. It is well run and well liked by people on both sides of the aisle.”

    Further, the governor has gone after some spending not covered by mandates enacted by voters through ballot measures, a quirk of California budgeting that has helped create the mess the state is in.

    “Certainly the programs that were targeted are not protected by the California Constitution or required by federal law,” said Jean Ross, the executive director of the California Budget Project, a left-leaning policy organization that analyzes the budget.

    The Democratic-controlled Legislature has been uncharacteristically silent on most of the cuts, most likely because lawmakers know that tax increases are not politically palatable, that huge cuts in some form are in the offing no matter what, and that any program they wish to spare will quite likely have advocates among their ranks.

    “There is no drawing lines in the sand,” said Alicia Trost, the spokeswoman for State Senator Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat and president pro tem. “Everyone knows we’re the majority, and we all know where we stand.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/us...f.html?_r=2&hp

  2. #2
    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    fucking California. so now, i'm going to be punished because i voted against all of the things (except one) on the ballot?

    these bastards need to go without pay until they figure out a way to make a budget that works. I'd like to see just one of them live on what i make a month. then i bet they find a way to balance a budget.

    BUT i bet there will be plenty of money for that failure of a broad, Octomom. gawd i hate it all.

    bitter deb.
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    Gold Member Pippin69's Avatar
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    Can't we recall Arnold? They did it to Davis, and he never made a mess like this!
    "Just because I walked into a turd supermarket doesn't mean I have to buy anything." - John Oliver

  4. #4
    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    He's gonna be out of there soon enough, but he's fond of spending money on special elections about himself, so he might want to get one last one in there before saying goodbye.

  5. #5
    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    no offense- but this situation and the budget cuts are thoroughly itemized and discussed here:
    California on the verge of meltdown; Governor proposes eliminating welfare.

  6. #6
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pippin69 View Post
    Can't we recall Arnold? They did it to Davis, and he never made a mess like this!
    Why blame Ahnold? It's not his fault. California has been heading toward this situation for at least a decade, if not longer.

    Quote Originally Posted by msdeb View Post
    fucking California. so now, i'm going to be punished because i voted against all of the things (except one) on the ballot?

    these bastards need to go without pay until they figure out a way to make a budget that works. I'd like to see just one of them live on what i make a month. then i bet they find a way to balance a budget.
    Perhaps you should blame your fellow Californians instead. What the legislature supposed to do? Raise taxes? Legally they can't. They don't have much leeway to do anything from a budget standpoint since California voters have been constantly stripping them of legislative ability.

    Fucking duh.

    May 25, 2009
    Op-Ed Columnist
    State of Paralysis

    By PAUL KRUGMAN

    California, it has long been claimed, is where the future happens first. But is that still true? If it is, God help America.

    The recession has hit the Golden State hard. The housing bubble was bigger there than almost anywhere else, and the bust has been bigger too. California’s unemployment rate, at 11 percent, is the fifth-highest in the nation. And the state’s revenues have suffered accordingly.

    What’s really alarming about California, however, is the political system’s inability to rise to the occasion.

    Despite the economic slump, despite irresponsible policies that have doubled the state’s debt burden since Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor, California has immense human and financial resources. It should not be in fiscal crisis; it should not be on the verge of cutting essential public services and denying health coverage to almost a million children. But it is — and you have to wonder if California’s political paralysis foreshadows the future of the nation as a whole.

    The seeds of California’s current crisis were planted more than 30 years ago, when voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 13, a ballot measure that placed the state’s budget in a straitjacket. Property tax rates were capped, and homeowners were shielded from increases in their tax assessments even as the value of their homes rose.

    The result was a tax system that is both inequitable and unstable. It’s inequitable because older homeowners often pay far less property tax than their younger neighbors. It’s unstable because limits on property taxation have forced California to rely more heavily than other states on income taxes, which fall steeply during recessions.

    Even more important, however, Proposition 13 made it extremely hard to raise taxes, even in emergencies: no state tax rate may be increased without a two-thirds majority in both houses of the State Legislature. And this provision has interacted disastrously with state political trends.

    For California, where the Republicans began their transformation from the party of Eisenhower to the party of Reagan, is also the place where they began their next transformation, into the party of Rush Limbaugh. As the political tide has turned against California Republicans, the party’s remaining members have become ever more extreme, ever less interested in the actual business of governing.

    And while the party’s growing extremism condemns it to seemingly permanent minority status — Mr. Schwarzenegger was and is sui generis — the Republican rump retains enough seats in the Legislature to block any responsible action in the face of the fiscal crisis.

    Will the same thing happen to the nation as a whole?

    Last week Bill Gross of Pimco, the giant bond fund, warned that the U.S. government may lose its AAA debt rating in a few years, thanks to the trillions it’s spending to rescue the economy and the banks. Is that a real possibility?

    Well, in a rational world Mr. Gross’s warning would make no sense. America’s projected deficits may sound large, yet it would take only a modest tax increase to cover the expected rise in interest payments — and right now American taxes are well below those in most other wealthy countries. The fiscal consequences of the current crisis, in other words, should be manageable.

    But that presumes that we’ll be able, as a political matter, to act responsibly. The example of California shows that this is by no means guaranteed. And the political problems that have plagued California for years are now increasingly apparent at a national level.

    To be blunt: recent events suggest that the Republican Party has been driven mad by lack of power. The few remaining moderates have been defeated, have fled, or are being driven out. What’s left is a party whose national committee has just passed a resolution solemnly declaring that Democrats are “dedicated to restructuring American society along socialist ideals,” and released a video comparing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to Pussy Galore.

    And that party still has 40 senators.

    So will America follow California into ungovernability? Well, California has some special weaknesses that aren’t shared by the federal government. In particular, tax increases at the federal level don’t require a two-thirds majority, and can in some cases bypass the filibuster. So acting responsibly should be easier in Washington than in Sacramento.

    But the California precedent still has me rattled. Who would have thought that America’s largest state, a state whose economy is larger than that of all but a few nations, could so easily become a banana republic?

    On the other hand, the problems that plague California politics apply at the national level too.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/25/opinion/25krugman.html

  7. #7
    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    Why blame Ahnold? It's not his fault. California has been heading toward this situation for at least a decade, if not longer.

    Perhaps you should blame your fellow Californians instead. What the legislature supposed to do? Raise taxes? Legally they can't. They don't have much leeway to do anything from a budget standpoint since California voters have been constantly stripping them of legislative ability.

    Fucking duh.
    hey now. thats a bit harsh dont you think? was that 'fucking duh' directed at me? if not, then correct yourself. if it was, then why so harsH?
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  8. #8
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msdeb View Post
    hey now. thats a bit harsh dont you think? was that 'fucking duh' directed at me? if not, then correct yourself. if it was, then why so harsH?


    How about all Californians who are now crying "boo fucking hoo" now that their state is on verge of collapse and can only think about management changes, such as a different governor, rather than looking at the source of their problems and working towards fixing it. *cough* Prop 13 for starters *cough*

    California has been inching towards this disaster for a long time. It didn't just start when Davis was governor. Or Schwarzenegger either.

    You think that "punishing" the legislature should be the answer even though it was the Californian electorate that stripped them of budgetary abilities and got the state into this mess. Really. What is the legislature supposed to do when citizens take their ability away to legislate taxes increases or move money around in the budget?

    Yes, FUCKING DUH!

  9. #9
    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    shit, why so nasty? i wasnt mean to you.
    misdirected anger maybe?
    Basic rule of Gossip Rocks: Don't be a dick.Tati
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  10. #10
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msdeb View Post
    shit, why so nasty? i wasnt mean to you.
    misdirected anger maybe?
    It doesn't have anything to do with you. I'm just fucking annoyed by Californians crying "Boo hoo" now that their state is falling into the abyss yet they don't concentrate on fixing the problem. It's not that hard to figure out a solution to some of this mess. Or how California got into it. But instead people want to scapegoat just to make themselves feel good.

    It's fucking dumb.

    It's like the entire city of Phoenix having a blackout in the middle of the summer when no one could run their air conditioning and whining that it's fucking hot outside.

    Or Clark county, Nevada, (home of Las Vegas) whining that they're running out of water.

    It's not that fucking hard to figure out what's going wrong. Yet, denial, denial, denial is all that ever crops up.

    [YOUTUBE]WMbfgAqgRHM[/YOUTUBE]
    Last edited by Fluffy; May 31st, 2009 at 05:53 PM. Reason: added Bill Maher video

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    Elite Member NicoleWasHere's Avatar
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    Jesus, you act like Deb's the root of all of California's problems. Shit, back up a second. >_>

  12. #12
    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    ^^^ no kidding!

    so Fluffy, i'm not supposed to be angry because CA is going down the shitter? dont attack ME because of MY opinion. if you are pissed off, thats fine, but last i checked i can still voice my opinion, that hasnt been taken from me.
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    i think the point is you're blaming the royal messenger, when it was the peasants who caused the problem.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  14. #14
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    i think the point is you're blaming the royal messenger, when it was the peasants who caused the problem.
    Exactly. A concept too difficult for some people to comprehend.

  15. #15
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Ok, THAT was a bit meow
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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