No one is enjoying the tax hikes which have already occurred, nor the ones that kicked in today, but a sales tax hike is just one of the many measures our state government is using to try and tackle that massive budget shortfall.
Sometimes my brain just shuts down when I hear a news report saying that we’re $x gazillion in the hole, because frankly, these numbers aren’t as real to me as the money that is flying out of my wallet or bank account. Basic common sense tells us that there are two ways to make up the gap: increase taxes and/or cut spending. But what to tax and what to cut?
The L.A. Times has a “fun” little interactive doo-dad which let’s you “[t]ry your hand at closing California’s budget shortfall, estimated at $24 billion. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Cut spending, raise taxes and/or borrow to get the state out of the red. For each choice — drawn from proposals from across the political spectrum — we’ve tried to give some sense of the effects. As you craft your proposal, the Deficit Meter will show your progress.”
Can YOU do it and how?
California announced today that there will be a 30-day delay on tax refunds because the state is broke.
From the AP:
Controller John Chiang said Friday he must delay $3.7 billion in payments next month because lawmakers have failed to address California’s growing deficit.
Let me get this straight…
- A tax refund is money that you owe us because we overpaid you on taxes.
- You failed to do the job that we, the taxpayers, elected you to do.
- You now want to keep our money a little longer.
Anyone else find this outrageous? Anyone else find this to be a complete failure? Anyone else ready to march from Los Angeles to Sacramento and fire everyone?
From the Daily News:
Los Angeles Unified school board members voted 4-2 Tuesday to authorize sending layoff notices to about 2,300 teachers, although the district superintendent said the notices might not necessarily be sent.
“It is strictly precautionary mainly, because I am trying to put pressure on Sacramento,” Superintendent Ramon Cortines said.
He vowed not to send any notices before the board’s next scheduled meeting in two weeks, adding the notices would be sent only if there were no other options to save the jobs.
The president of the teachers union condemned the vote, saying it was more than a bluff.
“It’s more than pressure,” said United Teachers Los Angeles President AJ Duffy. “No matter what Cortines said the reality is with Megan Reilly, the district chief financial officer, who has a budget based on laying off 2,200 teachers.”
Cutting education is no way to solve a budget crisis. Who is running this joint, and why haven’t they been fired?
I’m on a mailing list for NorthEastLA (NELA) community issues and this came across my desk: the City of Los Angeles Budget Survey. I just completed the survey myself. I think it’s a good exercise and brings up a lot of interesting questions. Why no survey questions about subway funding or routes? And why do they even have to ask about what they call “needs based budgeting,” which would divert funding to areas that appear to need them the most? Is the city actually NOT “Repaving streets based on condition of the streets and the usage of the particular street?” or NOT “Focusing gang reduction services in communities where gang crime occurs most”…? Why do they even have to ask me if this is a good idea?! It made me think of a recent report I heard on local newsradio, where a representative from the Westside was bitching about higher-crime communities diverting his crime-prevention forces. “I know we don’t have as much crime as those areas,” he admitted, then went on to whine about the whole thing.
Well, ’nuff said. Go voice your own opinion here. The letter that came with the link is behind the jump.
Info on the current budget & process is here; the fiscal year 2008/09 budget itself is here. Continue reading LA City Budget Survey: Share your voice!