Monday, July 23, 2012

Two More Reasons California Is Heading For Fiscal Armageddon

These two articles, one in the Left Angeles Times and the other in The Sacramento Bee, leave no doubt in this blogger's mind that the so-called political class really does not understand what financial mess they are leaving for us to pick up at some point in the future.
Lets start with the article in the Times about the California state legislature agreeing to a slew of pay raises for legislative aides.
According to the article about 1,000 aides received about $4,600,000 annually. So lets do some math. It turns out that the Dirty Thousand received about an average raise of $4,600. This on the heels of the same legislature forcing state employees to take a 4.62% pay cut to try to balance the state budget. Sure, there is always going to be some justification for these aides getting this nice pay raise. One is that they are trying to make up for years with no raises for these legislative lackeys.
But what you have to read is what some of these people are making. Some are making more than the state legislators themselves. Here is the money graph from this article:

The highest-paid aide to receive a raise was Christopher Woods, chief budget consultant for the Assembly speaker. Woods' pay grew 3.6%, to $193,476. Catherine Abernathy, chief of staff for Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), received 37%, for a salary of $65,832 a year, after taking on additional duties.

Whiskey? Tango? Foxtrot?
Let me get this straight.
Christopher Woods, a budget consultant makes more than the Speaker of the Assembly, John Perez (D-Los Angeles)? FTR, Speaker Perez makes close to $96,000 a year. While both are totally obscene, Mr. Woods is more so because he is a consultant that should not be making more than a legislator, period. Yet he does.
At least Catherine Abernathy makes less than her boss, Assemblyman Shannon Grove. But her raise was an astounding 37%. Thirty frickin seven percent?!
And these same people asked the nuts-and-bolts state employees to take a close to five percent pay cut?
But this is California.
Oh, and the thrust of the Times article is not the outrage of the raises. No, it is about how this makes Gov. Jerry Moonbeam Brown's job of selling a tax hike harder. And it should be. If the very people wanting us to vote to raise our taxes won't tighten their belts, why in the hell should we vote for the tax hike in the first place?
This is, once again, a perfect case for making the state legislature a part-time one. There is no reason that we need all of these paid aides to promote the very legislation that continues to chip away at our freedoms in this once Golden State.
But if you think that is bad, the article by Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee points not just to this outrage but the outage of Gov. Moonbeam Brown pushing for a "bullet train" that no one wants. Oh, Gov. Moonbeam Brown made sure that two of the state's major media markets, Los Angeles and San Francisco, would put this at the top of the news when he signed legislation to sell bonds to financially support this boondoggle. Yet Gov. Moonbeam Brown did not step foot in the Central Valley? Why not? Because opposition is the strongest there than any other part of the state. Yet the state as a whole does not support this now. Why the push? I guess it is because Gov. Moonbeam Brown is so hellbent on making this a reality, that he will even dismiss the voters that oppose it.
Get it? We are pretty much too stupid to know what is good for us.
It is OK to give pay raises to state sycophants, er aides, but the rest, well you get a pay cut and you will enjoy it. Be thankful that you have a job, right?
And you know, you will love this "bullet train" at some point. Whenever it is built. Just take it, California.
The arrogance of the Sacramento political class, Democrats and Republicans must be knocked down. It is one of the reasons to oppose all tax hike plans on the November ballot. We must rise up and demand that the legislature be put back to a part-time body of true citizen legislators. Not career pols that have put this state on a fast track to financial Armageddon.

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