Balancing the California Budget

I have no idea how we got so far into this mess, but I do know that there is an $11.7 billion hole in the California budget.  The easy answer is that we spent too much money and didn’t make enough to make it balance  However, $11.7 billion is more than ten percent of the $103 billion state budget, so someone did some serious miscalculating.

Today, our Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed a plan to raise the sales tax by 1.5% and some other new taxes to raise about $4 billion.  In this same plan, he proposes cuts of around $7 billion to state programs.  Now there is an uproar about how we don’t need new taxes and how it’s going to kill our economy.

While I don’t agree with big government and over-taxation, at least Schwarzenegger has put a plan out there to balance the budget.  The state legislature had months to do this and they just sat there bickering and not working anything out.

On top of all this, the voters just approved almost $3 billion in new debt that will be issued as bonds.  So not only are we not meeting the budget now, but we just added to it!  Somewhere along the line, we need to increase taxes to meet this new spending.

I also believe that if we are going to have taxes, they should be at the state and local level.  At least we know what programs our taxes to go towards in the state.  There might be waste and inefficiency, but at least we know they aren’t going to an entirely different part of the country.  

So while people bitch and moan about a 1.5% sales tax increase and a tax on golf green fees, they should be complaining about all the taxes we pay towards the federal government to fund social security, welfare, medicare, two wars, and farm subsidies.  If those programs were better managed, we would be taxed less by the feds and could afford to pay more to the state.

People are always so serious about curbing spending and balancing the budget, but when push comes to shove, they want to keep spending while lowering taxes.  That doesn’t work for our household budgets, why do we think it will work for the government’s?  While the Governator’s plan might not be perfect, it at least it is the rare example of a politician actually trying to make things work.

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