Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Penny Wise And Pound Foolish

The California Dream has become a nightmare for a good proportion of its citizens. The Governator continues his policy of balancing the budget on the backs of the poor because the poor can't contribute to his coffers or buy him cigars and they must be punished until they miraculously find a way to improve their situation and their salaries. Without education or viable job opportunities of course. His solutions to the California budget crises is too take from the poor and give discounts to the corporations and the rich.  As a result emergency rooms will become even more crowded, elderly people with dementia will have little to no support and for $8 an hour will have very few competent people to help take care of them, and going to the park or beach for recreation is on its way to becoming a thing of the past.

The Golden State no longer gleams unless you're rich, in which case the immediate future looks quite bright.  It's only a matter of time before the worker bees find somewhere else where their minimum wage will go farther and they won't have to live in tent cites or parking lots that let them park their RV for the night.  And these aren't illegals, they are electricians and truck drivers.  Who will probably be joined by other middle class workers that worked for the state and couldn't afford to lose 14 percent of their pay.  And the best part?  Schwarzenegger and crew believe that the same amount of tax revenue can be brought in even if there are fewer employees to do it.
As part of budget-cutting measures, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered most state employees to take off three days each month without pay, including the staff of the Franchise Tax Board.

Despite objections from the board, the governor ordered employees to take two days off each month starting in February and a third beginning this month. The board estimated that the loss of work time already had cut income tax revenue by $177.4 million for the spending year that ended June 30.

If the furloughs continue, the board said the backlog of dealing with tax disputes and late collections would contribute to a net loss of another $372 million over the two years after that.
This isn't about balancing the budget, it's about revenge and punishing people for working for the state.
The board collects both the personal and corporate income tax, which bankrolls about 70% of the state's $85-billion general fund. The estimated tax collections lost through furloughs represent about 1% of all state income taxes paid in the state.

Forcing about 5,000 people at the board to take furloughs essentially reduces an already streamlined workforce by about 15%. But the productivity losses don't stop there. An additional 289 staffers have received notices that they could be laid off in the fall.

The reductions in personnel immediately translate into lost revenue for a state that's trying to dig itself out of a $24-billion hole with an austerity budget that the governor signed into law Tuesday.

"As a department, whose only product is revenue -- voluntary and involuntary -- cuts in our operations do impact our final revenue output," Franchise Tax Board Executive Officer Selvi Stanislaus wrote on June 30 to Schwarzenegger's finance director, Mike Genest.

The state would save about $60 million in salaries by furloughing all board workers for three days per month, the board said. But cumulative revenue losses would be as much as nine times that amount.
It looks like I really did get out in time even though there are three things I don't like about living in Reno.  One, the cigarette smoke.  It's everywhere.  I didn't realize how few people smoked in California until I started dodging the smoke clouds that hang in the most unusual places.  Two, they don't recycle here and I feel guilty not sorting my trash or returning my bottles.  Third and most important, I traded Dianne (I don't care what my constituents want) Feinstein for Harry (what are cojones and why do I need them) Reid.  Good grief, his hands off approach has made sure that nothing gets done in a timely manner except whatever is good for corporations and banks.  We the people are treated more like silly children instead of taxpaying citizens who deserve equal representation.

What the heck is wrong with this country when a family forgets one of their kids in a taxi and the taxi driver gets the reprimand instead of the parents?  Twenty years ago I had a friend who left his five year old at the grocery store.  For four hours.  He finally noticed the kid was missing and went back and found him tapping his foot with his hands on hips.  I never let an opportunity pass to tease this guy.  He may have been cute but he certainly wasn't responsible.  And neither was the taxi driver.


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