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California: I guess we're out of money?

werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
edited August 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
There have been rumblings about a serious financial crisis in California for some time, and this has been a pretty devastating week for anyone hoping this would just work out. California has a current budget deficit of over $21 billion dollars, and will run out of cash on hand by the end of June at the current rate.

The first attempt at closing the gap was a serious of ballot initiatives (the California constitution allows for the passage of legislation or constitutional amendments by simple majority vote on ballots) which failed unanimously, with the only exception being a ban on legislators receiving a raising during an economic downturn.

The next plan of attack was to trying an get federal assistance, either outright or guarantees of loans, but that's dead in the water too. As fun a hypothetical as running a state through bankruptcy might be it's probably for the best we didn't end up going down this road.

And now with every other option exhausted, comes the painful downside of trying to make a low tax/high service government work. The cuts are apparently going to be brutal with the current proposal completely eliminating welfare, cutting medicaid and children's healthcare, ending assistance to students with further cuts on the table including the closing of state agencies, selling of state assets, deep cuts to education, and the ending of financing for state parks.

Now comes the inevitable vicious fighting as legislators trying to salvage what they can and avoid screwing their constituents, and apparently there's a growing (though still somewhat minor) movement to outright scrap the current state and start over with a new constitutional convention.

Besides being fascinating in its own right, this fight has a lot of potential to let us seem how various ideas might play out for the US as a whole. California is a halfway decent proxy for the country as a whole, though it definitely has it's own quirks and oddities, and it might let us see how some of the wonky ideas that get kicked around would play out in a practical application.

Definitely worth keeping an eye on given how fast things are moving and the tight time constraints.

werehippy on
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    OrganichuOrganichu poops peesRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited May 2009
    I mean are those families on welfare going to starve to death or something?

    <--noob

    What services ARE being kept?

    Organichu on
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    firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    "As California goes, so goes the nation."

    firewaterword on
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    LegacyLegacy Stuck Somewhere In Cyberspace The Grid(Seattle)Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2009
    Bah!

    Washington has been out of money since last year. Get with the times, CA!

    Legacy on
    Can we get the chemicals in. 'Cause anything's better than this.
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    werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Organichu wrote: »
    I mean are those families on welfare going to starve to death or something?

    <--noob

    What services ARE being kept?

    Not at all to be glib, but it's looking like it's going to be everyone for themselves.

    As far as what's being kept, I haven't heard anyone mention any cuts to police services, and basic medical services seem intact, though the free service for people unable to pay might well end. Public schools will stay open, though more likely than not with such deep cuts it won't be a fun experience. Beyond that, everything else is pretty much at least potentially open to drastic cuts or elimination. $21 billion is a staggering amount of money to have to make up.

    werehippy on
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    DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Well, California has been needing a constitutional convention ever since those clusterfucks decided to add constitutional amendments by majority vote.

    DoctorArch on
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    KageraKagera Imitating the worst people. Since 2004Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Okay NOW we can fall into the ocean.

    Kagera on
    My neck, my back, my FUPA and my crack.
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    OrganichuOrganichu poops peesRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited May 2009
    Is there a typically agreed upon source for this circumstance? I know that CA has a huge, huge social safety net in some ways... did they just not tax folks commensurate to that, generating this huge deficit?

    Organichu on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    California also has some fun regulations coming into play right now. 2010 is going to suuuuuuck. This is nothing.

    Incenjucar on
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    Smug DucklingSmug Duckling Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    A new constitution would be nice.

    What's stopping them from just going ridiculously deep into debt though? Seems to be 'allowed' for the nation as a whole.

    Smug Duckling on
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    cooljammer00cooljammer00 Hey Small Christmas-Man!Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Uh, is the answer gay marriage?

    cooljammer00 on
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    Smug DucklingSmug Duckling Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Organichu wrote: »
    Is there a typically agreed upon source for this circumstance? I know that CA has a huge, huge social safety net in some ways... did they just not tax folks commensurate to that, generating this huge deficit?

    I'm pretty sure that a majority vote can veto tax increases, so yeah. The taxes are just not high enough.

    Smug Duckling on
    smugduckling,pc,days.png
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    DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Organichu wrote: »
    Is there a typically agreed upon source for this circumstance? I know that CA has a huge, huge social safety net in some ways... did they just not tax folks commensurate to that, generating this huge deficit?

    I'm pretty sure that a majority vote can veto tax increases, so yeah. The taxes are just not high enough.

    I thought it was a supermajority to levy tax increases, and a simple majority to approve spending.

    If that's not fucked up governance I don't know what is.

    DoctorArch on
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    KageraKagera Imitating the worst people. Since 2004Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I say we split the state up into North and South. Not because this will solve anything but because it would amuse me.

    Kagera on
    My neck, my back, my FUPA and my crack.
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Kagera wrote: »
    I say we split the state up into North and South. Not because this will solve anything but because it would amuse me.

    California really needs to be split up into about four states. Central, Coastal, North, South.

    Incenjucar on
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    MeizMeiz Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Legacy wrote: »
    Bah!

    Washington has been out of money since last year. Get with the times, CA!

    They've been out of money since they entrusted the Federal Reserve to a private company.

    Meiz on
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    LegacyLegacy Stuck Somewhere In Cyberspace The Grid(Seattle)Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2009
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Kagera wrote: »
    I say we split the state up into North and South. Not because this will solve anything but because it would amuse me.

    California really needs to be split up into about four states. Central, Coastal, North, South.

    Hell, merge a few of the north-east states together and we can stay at 50 states, too.

    The future is very hazy at the moment... :|

    Legacy on
    Can we get the chemicals in. 'Cause anything's better than this.
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    KageraKagera Imitating the worst people. Since 2004Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Duct Tape sales are up 50% in the last week.

    Kagera on
    My neck, my back, my FUPA and my crack.
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Legacy wrote: »
    Hell, merge a few of the north-east states together and we can stay at 50 states, too.

    The future is very hazy at the moment... :|

    Just one of the many reasons I left the area.

    Things are going to get very nasty when this hits full blast:

    http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/ordiesel/ordiesel.htm

    And this:

    http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdiesel/onrdiesel.htm

    And this:

    http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/stormwater/constpermits.shtml

    Incenjucar on
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    OfficiousGOfficiousG Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I don't understand why these special election articles keep saying "Californians want a lot more services than they're willing to pay for." I don't remember seeing any proposals to raise taxes on the ballot. If there had been any, I absolutely would have voted for them.

    The only significant revenue measure I saw was to try to increase lottery revenue by spending more money on lottery advertising. But the lottery is like a super-regressive tax on poor and desperate people! It's like anti-welfare. The lower class can't take that right now.

    OfficiousG on
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    SpeakerSpeaker Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    If you guys do re-write your constitution, try to keep it shorter than Moby Dick this time.

    Speaker on
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    DukiDuki Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Pretty much the only dumber way to run a government is high tax/low service.

    And that's been damn near impossible to pull off since people got rid of absolute monarchy.

    Ladies and gentlemen, California's constitution!

    Duki on
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    TaramoorTaramoor Storyteller Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    The problem with California is that everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, wants to not pay taxes, yet have all the public services in the world free of charge.

    This is why we're a Republic and not a Democracy... because majority rule doesn't work the way it needs to.

    California tried to set itself up as an almost pure democracy.

    As such, they're now bankrupt and dying.

    Taramoor on
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    DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Speaker wrote: »
    If you guys do re-write your constitution, try to keep it shorter than Moby Dick this time.
    Also, perhaps the ultimate codification of your legal system shouldn't be easier to change than the guy who runs your state.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
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    AegisAegis Fear My Dance Overshot Toronto, Landed in OttawaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Taramoor wrote: »
    The problem with California is that everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, wants to not pay taxes, yet have all the public services in the world free of charge.

    This is why we're a Republic and not a Democracy... because majority rule doesn't work the way it needs to.

    California tried to set itself up as an almost pure democracy.

    As such, they're now bankrupt and dying.

    Collective action problems are fun!

    Except when they bankrupt one's state. Whoops.

    The really sad part in all of this is that I'm pretty sure that the current politicians will get all the blame of the crisis while the general population continue to ignore their part in the mess.

    Aegis on
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    OfficiousGOfficiousG Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Well, it's worse than just "majority rule" because we need the support of two thirds of our legislators to raise taxes and get us out of this mess, and our districts are severely gerrymandered so there's little chance of us getting the proportion of Republican legislators down beneath one-third. (and the Republicans have sworn an oath, a literal oath, not to raise taxes)

    But the state constitution does absolutely need to be overhauled. Not just to get rid of the two-thirds rule, but also to get rid of Voter Initiatives altogether. Voters are too easily manipulated.

    OfficiousG on
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    juice for jesusjuice for jesus Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    OfficiousG wrote: »
    I don't understand why these special election articles keep saying "Californians want a lot more services than they're willing to pay for." I don't remember seeing any proposals to raise taxes on the ballot. If there had been any, I absolutely would have voted for them.

    The only significant revenue measure I saw was to try to increase lottery revenue by spending more money on lottery advertising. But the lottery is like a super-regressive tax on poor and desperate people! It's like anti-welfare. The lower class can't take that right now.

    1A would have extended the recent tax increases through two more years, and would have changed the budget process, presumably to make it less of a clusterfuck.

    Perhaps we can get a new constitution and tax code out of this disaster, at least then it will have served some good.

    juice for jesus on
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    KevinNashKevinNash Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    OfficiousG wrote: »
    I don't understand why these special election articles keep saying "Californians want a lot more services than they're willing to pay for." I don't remember seeing any proposals to raise taxes on the ballot. If there had been any, I absolutely would have voted for them.

    1A was a tax increase. I appreciate you voting no. Proposing a tax increase in a recession is insane.
    The only significant revenue measure I saw was to try to increase lottery revenue by spending more money on lottery advertising. But the lottery is like a super-regressive tax on poor and desperate people! It's like anti-welfare. The lower class can't take that right now.

    Nobody can take it right now. The majority of the private sector is either getting laid off, taking pay cuts, or at best getting no cost of living increases. Now the public sector gets to follow suit. Laying off 5,000 of 250,000 state employees and forcing month long furloughs is long overdue and hardly the disaster they are trying to make it out to be.

    California doesn't collectively pay the most taxes in the country, but that's primarily because the property tax rates are so low compared to other states. Aside from property taxes it's worst or almost worst in Income taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes, and corporate taxes.

    They are even threatening to let non violent drug offenders out of prison to walk the streets with the common folk. I can't wait.

    KevinNash on
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    MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    In case anyone was wondering, we fucked ourselves a while back. Thanks mom and dad.

    MrMister on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    MrMister wrote: »
    In case anyone was wondering, we fucked ourselves a while back. Thanks mom and dad.

    "Passage of the initiative presaged a "taxpayer revolt" throughout the country that is sometimes thought to have contributed to the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980. However, of 30 anti-tax ballot measures that year, only 13 of them passed.[2]"

    I may never admit to being from California ever again. D:

    Incenjucar on
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    CandlemassCandlemass Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I wonder what will happen to the UC and Cal State systems. I'm graduating next month from UCR so while I may be headed into a job market during a recession, at least I made it through before anything drastic happened to the school system if that is the way we're headed.

    Candlemass on
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    KevinNashKevinNash Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Candlemass wrote: »
    I wonder what will happen to the UC and Cal State systems. I'm graduating next month from UCR so while I may be headed into a job market during a recession, at least I made it through before anything drastic happened to the school system if that is the way we're headed.

    This is from an (biased) AP article. It's high level but you get the idea
    The governor's cutbacks could include ending the state's main welfare program for the poor, eliminating health coverage for about 1.5 million poor children, halting cash grants for about 77,000 college students, shortening the school year by seven days, laying off thousands of state workers and teachers, slashing money for state parks and releasing thousands of prisoners before their sentences are finished.

    "Thousands" means 5000. That's a drop in the bucket.

    KevinNash on
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    werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    KevinNash wrote: »
    They are even threatening to let non violent drug offenders out of prison to walk the streets with the common folk. I can't wait.

    Because anyone who smokes marijuana is both not a person, and worth wasting $50k a year on keeping them in prison while you cut fundamental services.

    And while we're at it, who says "common folk" in serious conversation? It the political equivalent of "no offense, but ..." where the speaker is either about to try and encourage a group to believe something staggeringly stupid or is getting themselves in a lather on their high horse while patronizing those common folk.

    This definitely shouldn't turn into the drug thread, but when a group rank locking up nonviolent offenders about things like teaching kids or making sure people aren't literally dieing in the gutters there's something wrong with their priorities.

    werehippy on
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    SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    On the one hand, I'm kind of freaked out over what this will do to the rest of the nation.

    On the other hand, there has never been a more clear cut case of "reaping what you sow..." so it's hard to feel a great deal of sympathy.

    But god help you fuckers if you burn down Disneyland before November!

    Sentry on
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    DukiDuki Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    In case anyone was wondering, we fucked ourselves a while back. Thanks mom and dad.

    "Passage of the initiative presaged a "taxpayer revolt" throughout the country that is sometimes thought to have contributed to the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980. However, of 30 anti-tax ballot measures that year, only 13 of them passed.[2]"

    I may never admit to being from California ever again. D:

    He was winning that one anyway.
    And he was great.

    Duki on
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    MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    KevinNash, perhaps there is at least one thing we can agree on: it's a great time to let non-violent drug offenders free. Not that it wasn't always a great time to let them free, but hopefully now we actually will.

    MrMister on
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    KevinNashKevinNash Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    werehippy wrote: »
    KevinNash wrote: »
    They are even threatening to let non violent drug offenders out of prison to walk the streets with the common folk. I can't wait.

    Because anyone who smokes marijuana is both not a person, and worth wasting $50k a year to keep in prison while you cut fundamental services.

    Which I completely disagree with and which is why I'm thrilled they are cutting spending to the point where they are releasing these people from prison.

    I hope the crisis reaches the point where they are inspired to completely legalize pot.
    And while we're at it, who says "common folk" in serious conversation? It the political equivalent of "no offense, but ..." where the speaker is either about to try and encourage a group to believe something staggeringly stupid or is getting themselves in a lather on their high horse while patronizing those common folk.

    Or the responding poster completely missed the point of the original post.
    This definitely shouldn't turn into the drug thread, but when a group rank locking up nonviolent offenders about things like teaching kids or making sure people aren't literally dieing in the gutters there's something wrong with their priorities.

    I hope we find this person and can tell them off the forums somewhere....

    KevinNash on
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    werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Wow, I apparently can't really tell what's sarcasm or not at 2 in the morning when I'm exhausted. Snark respectfully withdrawn.

    werehippy on
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    SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    werehippy wrote: »
    Wow, I apparently can't really tell what's sarcasm or not at 2 in the morning when I'm exhausted. Snark respectfully withdrawn.

    To be fair, how often have we seen KevinNash being sensible around here? Most people would have had to look twice.

    Sentry on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    wrote:
    When I was a little kid, I always pretended I was the hero,' Skip said.
    'Fuck yeah, me too. What little kid ever pretended to be part of the lynch-mob?'
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    AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    KevinNash wrote: »
    California doesn't collectively pay the most taxes in the country, but that's primarily because the property tax rates are so low compared to other states. Aside from property taxes it's worst or almost worst in Income taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes, and corporate taxes.

    If you honestly think that's a coincidence, then I've got a bridge to sell you.

    AngelHedgie on
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