SNOW IN MALIBU: Christmas Tree Safety ... (Updated)

Schwarzenegger and the Legislature: Tiptoeing thru the tulips while California plunges into a deeper recession ...

What Governor?

First, where is the leadership that the Governor promised years ago in his first term: I am so rich, I can’t be bought. I will cut legislative spending. I will balance the budget. I will sign a budget on schedule. I am for the people of California.

Turns out that Arnold Schwarzenegger is more of a narcissistic movie star than an able administrator. A liberal democrat posing as a Republican. A man who is wealthy and intends to stay that way by creating special entitites to fund his jet-set lifestyle while acting out the part of “a man of the people.” Well it is crunch time and the Governor has run out of answers, out of cute little tricks to paper over the budget.

What Legislature …

When confronted with their profligate spending, these democrat liberals simply claimed that it wasn’t a spending problem, but a revenue problem and we all needed to pay more.

This group of liberal aging hippies who are more interested in demonstrating their humanitarianism by attracting more illegal aliens to a state whose crumbling healthcare, educational, judicial, retirement, social and cultural infrastructure is almost beyond repair. A group of GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered) activists who want to insert sexual politics in a state in sore need of leadership, prudence, discretion and budgetary. Leftists who want to cede a major portion of the state’s budget and rulemaking power to the unions who support them.

A corrupt group which continues to campaign 24/7 and more beholden to the special interests that funnel votes and campaign contributions to their special charities and various campaign funds than the people of the State of California.

And in some cases, a thoroughly rotten group who has the audacity to pontificate on social and economic issues while they are under current investigation for political corruption.

Did I miss something?

I was under the impression that our budgetary shortfall was somewhere in the range of 12 – 24 billion dollars depending on who was adding up the numbers.

Now I am being told that the budget deficit will balloon to $42 billion dollars in the next eighteen months.

Is someone lying? Or is this some form of “shock and awe” pronouncement to raise our already sky-high taxes while covering their tracks while they continue to spend-spend-spend?

More accounting games?

We are talking about a budget. Where one would think that a reduction in spending actually meant that you spend less money than you spent previously.

However, I am now learning that in California, a reduction in spending is often a reduction in the amount of money that you are proposing to spend in the upcoming fiscal period. That is: if you spent $1 billion actual dollars last year and budgeted the next year at $2 billion dollars; our woefully inept leaders slash 1/2 billion from the proposed two billion budget and call that a “spending cut.” When the truth is that they plan to spend $1-1/2 billion dollars – a spending increase of 50% over the actual dollars previously spent.

You can hardly trust anyone in California government to provide the real truth …

Only scant months ago, you could trust the non-partisan Legislative Analyst to provide some estimate of the real numbers. Unfortunately, our legislators have borrowed money from this fund and that fund and have replaced the actual money with the state version of a promissory note. A note which is totally worthless unless funded by additional money from the taxpayer.  In addition to this bait-and-switch scam, we also find that billions of dollars are squirreled away in special interest funds such as the $2 billion in a pre-school treasure chest funded by the tobacco industry. A fund that the teacher’s unions are desperately trying to tap to extend their influence and membership by operating pre-schools to serve as daycare centers for the children of illegal aliens who are accepted with open arms into union-controlled positions.

We have voted to provide a set portion of the state’s income for education – an ever growing sinkhole of leftist learning theories and mediocre performance. The only thing that seems to be rising is the ratio of administrators to teachers.

In a time when we are being told that teachers must pay for school supplies out of their own pockets, we see state supervised school systems like the Los Angeles Unified School System waste $100 million or more on a failed payroll system, $500,000 to buy out an ethnic school superintendent who was unable to perform his job in a manner suitable for the school board, a $1 billion dollar high school project – for a single high school. Or a $230 million dollar modern art high school to stroke the ego of a billionaire who seems to have a lock on the school board politics.

We see union employees lollygagging on the job, only to perform the real work after hours at double and triple time.

Nobody, including Governor Schwarzenegger is watching out for the average Californian – Californians who are migrating out of the state in increasing numbers. An action that is not lost on the socialists in Mexico who are steadily gaining influence in the state and want people to move out  of their “land.”

Taxation without representation …

We are heading for a recreation of the Boston Tea Party. A taxpayer revolt over the imperialistic actions of the petty dictators that we somehow were persuaded to elect. Whether by a complicit media, who has abandoned any semblance of journalistic ethics and has moved to crass commercialism, or the cult of celebrity – charlatans and incompetent people are now running our government.

And now we are being told that we are not being taxed – we are merely paying fees. Even when the dumbest among us knows that a tax is charged to the general public and a fee is something someone pays to defray the cost of a service which they receive.

From the Associated Press …

“California lawmakers have approved an $18 billion Democratic plan to address the state deficit.”

“They passed several pieces of legislation with a simple majority Thursday, avoiding the two-thirds requirement typically needed to approve tax increases.”

“Republicans voted for some of the bills that made sweeping cuts to California programs. In all, the legislation trims more than $7 billion from schools, health programs and prisons.”

But you need to ask yourself – are these sweeping cuts actual reductions in relationship to money that was previously spent or merely sham reductions of proposed budgetary spending. If our state government was serious, we could come up with a budget in less than 30 minutes. We simply say that the spending for the next fiscal period is the same as the actual dollars spent last year minus 20%. All of the public safety functions would be funded first – less a 10% reduction; education would be next with a full 20% reduction and all of the other services would have to fight it out to obtain the rest of the money – eliminating commissions, boards, bureaus which no longer serve a public purpose.

And, above all forcing the government employees to suffer in direct proportion as those suffering in private industry by reducing the number of part-time and full-time employees in government in the same proportion as the job loss in private industry. No more tenured teachers. No more lifetime jobs. No nepotism. And no more overtime when it appears that employees are drifting through their days pushing paper from one department to another.

“Democrats and Republicans have been at odds since the beginning of November over how to solve the state's ballooning deficit. It is expected to hit $42 billion in the next 18 months.”

I ask again, how the hell did a budget deficit balloon from $12-24 billion months ago to $42 billion when the legislature is telling us they are cutting spending? Someone is lying – perhaps they are all lying.

The liberal democrat answer …

“The Democratic proposal would address $18 billion of the state's shortfall over the next 18 months through a scheme that would cut some taxes, raise others, impose a new fee on gasoline and slash more than $7 billion in spending on health, education and prisons.”

If they say that the deficit will hit $42 billion dollars in the next 18 months and then say their democrat proposal will address $18 billion over the next 18 months – what is it that they are doing wrong. Ask me and I will tell you that they are planning to spend more than ever.

Is their proposal constitutional and legal?

“Taxpayer groups threatened to sue if taxes pass without a two-thirds majority, but Democrats claim their proposals are constructed in such a way that only a simple majority is required.”

“Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Temecula, said Democrats were disregarding the will of the people, noting that the two-thirds requirement to raise taxes is in the state Constitution.”

What the hell is this “constructed in such a way?” Financial legerdemain worthy of Penn and Teller? More hocus pocus based on legal interpretations? Or a criminal conspiracy of legislators who know that the legislation is legal and that the collected funds must be returned to the taxpayers sometime in the indeterminate future? It’s happened before – but the state got to use the funds for years before they grudgingly returned the money – not the real cash – but by using a reduction in certain taxes and fees.

Deepening the depression …

Out socialistic friends who are more interested in the extending citizenship to illegal aliens – in essence importing more poverty and illiteracy into California and those fretting over gay rights seem to be oblivious of the fact that raising taxes at this critical juncture in California’s history my deepen the recession into a long-lasting depression. At least they will have achieved one of their primary goals: wealth redistribution – everybody will be equally poor except for the ruling elites like Schwarzenegger and his legislative democrat friends.

"’Make no mistake, it is indeed an increase in taxes right at a time when people are trying to keep their jobs, hoping to be able to hang on to their mortgage and their homes, hoping and fighting to pay bills, to make ends meet,’ Hollingsworth said.”

Enter Schwarzenegger the RINO …

“’Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn't taken a position on the Democrats' proposal. Much of his criticism of legislators' inability to approve a budget plan has been leveled at members of his own party.’”

Schwarzenegger was so out of touch with his own party, that as a joke they wore name tags to one of their negotiation sessions.

The most egregious example of a far-left liberal democrat …

"’Merry Christmas Californians, indeed, because we're going to save the economy of this state. We're going to jump-start the economy,’ said Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.”

The deal they propose …

“The Democratic proposal would generate another $9.3 billion in general fund revenue by replacing gasoline taxes with a variety of fees.”

“The plan would raise the taxes Californians pay on gas by about 13 cents, replacing an 18-cent-a-gallon excise tax and a fluctuating sales tax with a 39-cent-per-gallon fee; raise the state sales tax by 3/4 of a cent; boost personal income taxes by 2.5 percent; tax oil produced in California; and collect taxes from independent contractors upfront.”

As for the gas tax, it is still a tax and not a fee. Perhaps if we label Mark Leno a heterosexual, he would no longer be gay. A cruel example, but one deserved by this asshat politician.

The 2.5% increase on state sales taxes is being billed as a surcharge. A tax on a tax? Or a fee for paying your taxes? Don’t ask, don’t tell seems to be the operative democrat legislative credo.

As for collecting taxes from independent contractors upfront, this is aimed squarely at the small businessman or entrepreneur who is being asked to bankroll big government. Since these taxes must be paid in the future (or the excess refunded), it amounts to a no-interest loan to the California legislature to continue their wayward ways.

“Republican lawmakers warned the plan would hit Californians hard during an already difficult recession. They have called for deeper cuts to education and social services instead of raising taxes.”

"’We're talking about substantially raising taxes on the people of this state,’ said Senate Minority Leader Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto. "’This proposal before us today will raise the gas tax, it will raise the car tax, will raise the personal income tax, and it will raise the sales tax to the tune of about $1,000 a year for an average family making about $50,000.’"

What the hell are they telling us?

“The shortfall for the fiscal year that ends in June is nearly $14 billion, about 10 percent of the state's $144.5 billion budget. But that hole is expected to grow in the next fiscal year unless lawmakers cut spending, raise revenue or do a combination of the two.”

We are back to a deficit of $14 billion dollars – somewhat the same number floated months ago. You know, the number between $12-$24 billion. So how do they manage to project a budget deficit of $42 million without spending another $28 billion that they obviously do not have.

Someone is playing games. Someone is not telling the truth. And someone is planning to continue to rob the State of California taxpayer. And there appears to be nobody willing to stop them.

Scare tactics …

“In a sign that the impasse was taking a toll, a state panel on Wednesday voted to stop lending money for an estimated 2,000 infrastructure projects statewide through June, an unprecedented move that the board said was necessary because California can no longer afford the work.”

Once again, the legislators and public officials are threatening to let criminals out of jail to cut costs – never considering for a moment that their priority task is to protect the public safety and that everything else – including education – is secondary. If any official increases the risk to Californians, let them be tried for dereliction of duty and tossed out on the behinds – if not criminally prosecuted for aiding and abetting criminal activity.

Whoops, Wall Street has dried up …

“California has not been able to borrow money for months and faces a cash shortage in February.”

Imagine, the state can’t simply borrow money to paper over the deficit and continue to kick the can down the road. They need to step up to the plate and take responsibility for the mess they and their predecessors have caused. And those asshat legislators who just named fellow politicians to $132,178 positions on the Integrated Waste Management Board, cut their salaries to $65,o00 and extend the same cuts to all of the other unimportant positions.

And, oh by the way, stuff the global warming initiative which promises to add billions in energy costs to California residents – all based on feel good dodgy science where results will not even be measurable in the next 200 years.

What can YOU do?

Call your elected officials and demand budgetary reform.

If the bums will not reduce the amount of actual dollars spent by 20-25%, do not re-elect them and where appropriate recall them or charge them with a crime.

Send Arnold Schwarzenegger back to Hollywood to star in The Terminator XIX: The Revolt of the Geriatric Legislators

Consider the formation of a citizens watchdog group: let’s call it Citizens Audit Program. Our motto: Put a CAP on spending in California.

Demand transparency in government operations. Perhaps putting the actual expenditures of each governmental entity – with full check detail – in a searchable database on the Internet. The Sacramento Bee built an interactive database of state worker’s salaries – now it is time for the state to do it with payments to individuals and corporations.

Be well. Be safe. And this too shall pass.

-- steve

Quote of the day:  “There are no wise few. Every aristocracy that has ever existed has behaved, in all essential points, exactly like a small mob.” -- G. K. Chesterton

A reminder from a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

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