Tuesday, July 29, 2008

California Budget Flap

Part of me applauds Governor Schwarzenegger's bold thinking for reducing state spending while pushing for an approved budget; his idea is flawed but represents an honest attempt to come to a solution.

In case you are wondering what the latest from Sacramento is, our Governor has signed an executive order reducing all state employees' salaries to the Federal Minimum Wage of $6.55 or $13,624 annually, pre-tax. Obviously this won't work, as that is such a drastic cut it invalidates any budgeting these employees might do for their home finances. However, the concept might just work if applied to a different type of state employee...

There are 40 state senators for California; collectively they make $2,259 per hour. If we reduce THEIR hour pay to $6.55, we save almost $1,997 each hour (assuming 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, and 52 weeks a year). So a week would save us $79,880. Some savings during the lean period, and I suspect the Senators would be motivated to provide quick resolution.

Tongue-in-cheek aside, why can our state government not produce a balanced budget on time? That is the highest priority for any government: raise and spend money. Our fiscal year started July 1, and the budget was under discussion since February. Assuming that the Senate set aside half of their time to discuss the budget, 350 hours of discussion failed to produce a budget? I don't see how that's possible. More likely, the amount of time working on the numbers was significantly less AND more effort was spent posturing than negotiating. So we're stuck with this mess.

HALF of the State Senate is up for re-election in 2008. I say we find the ones who did not put in the time and effort to get this problem solved and reward them with an enforced job shift. I'm TIRED of "leaders" who don't lead, a governor who doesn't govern, and a state government with no real handle on much of anything. They work for US; we can and should fire them.

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