Craig DeLuz

Writer, Actor, Public Speaker, Media Personality
Posts Tagged ‘Budget’

(Government) Jobs Bill overcomes filibuster and now has smooth road ahead

Once again Democrats with the help of a few soft minded Republicans have passed a massive spending bill to help keep state and local governments from having to make the tough decisions it will take to balance their budgets.
According to the Associated Press:
The $26 billion measure would help states ease their severe budget problems and – advocates said – stop the layoffs of nearly 300,000 teachers, firefighters, police and other public employees.
Where have we seen this before? Oh yeah… the Stimulus Bill. Remember that massive spending program that was supposed to stimulate the economy and create jobs? But what it mostly did was plug holes in state and local government budgets.
For example, in California stimulus spending was reported to have saved around 100,000 jobs. But a closer analysis found that 90% of those were government jobs; this at a time when the Golden State has actually increased the number of government jobs.
The sad part is that because the funding was for only one year, many of those jobs are on the chopping block this year. Not so fast! Here come the liberals to the rescue.
And what is their solution? Give states more money! This is like giving an alcoholic the keys to the freshly stocked liquor cabinet. They may be content for a while. But as soon as the well runs dry, they’ll be asking for your credit card to go shopping for more.
Any clear thinking individual has got to see that these same jobs are going to be on the line again next year as budget dollars will continue to be in scarce supply. Why keep putting off the cuts you know you are eventually going to have to make? A political payoff is the only explanation.

The current measure is heavily backed by unions for teachers and public employees, key allies of the Democratic Party. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ran ads Wednesday in four Maine newspapers urging Collins and Snowe to help break the filibuster.

Bailing out those who refuse to make responsible choices is a surefire way to ensure that they never have to. That is until we are no longer able to borrow or simply print the money to do so.

California government grows as private sector shrinks

With private sector jobs disappearing at an alarming rate, Assembly Republican Leader Martin Garrick, of Carlsbad, says in his weekly address that California must reduce the size of government to balance the budget. Here is the Assembly Republicans’ compilation of job statistics titled Real Facts: California Private Sector Job Loss vs. State Employee Job Cost.

California Unemployment Rate – 12.3%
Source: California Employment Development Department

Californians Currently Listed as Unemployed- 2.24 Million
Source: California Employment Development Department

Private Sector Jobs Lost in California Since 2005- 1,298,700
Source: California Employment Development Department

State Government Jobs Added Since 2005-  38,100
Source: California Employment Development Department

Average California Private Sector Job Salary- $55,000
Source: California Employment Development Department

Average State Taxes Paid by Each Private Sector Employee- $3,600
Source: Franchise Tax Board / Board of Equalization

Average Cost to Taxpayers to Pay Salary and Benefits for Each California Government Job- $90,000
Source: California Department of Finance

Number of Private Sector Jobs it Takes to Support One Government Job- 25
Source: Franchise Tax Board / Board of Equalization

So what is the Democrat’s answer to these alarming numbers? RAISE TAXES AND CONTINUE TO GROW GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS…

Schwarzenegger target of recall rally led by former supporters, John & Ken

Heads on a stick!

That is the newest promotion by Southern California radio talk show hosts John and Ken, as they go after GOP electeds who they say supported tax inreases.

One of the primary targets of their tax revolt was Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who ironically was supported by John and Ken over the clearly more fisacally conservative, Tom McClintock.

SEIU cuts deal a that Triples personal holidays!

Today SEIU Chief VP Romer Cristobal announced that in the they cut with the administration they would not be losing two holidays as previously announced by the administration.

According to Cristobal:

We have converted Lincoln and Columbus Holidays to Personal Holidays. Members will now accrue three personal holidays instead of just one per year.

Members will accrue 8 hours of Personal Leave (PL) per month in addition to their regular vacation and sick hours. You can use your personal leave for sick leave and you can use it as soon as you earn it.

When you add this to the fact that the number of furlough days was cut in half, one has to wonder what exactly the unions gave up in exchange for the massive tax increases they are trying to force upon the taxpayers of California?

Schools are going to take a hit. The poor are going to take a hit. Local governments are going to take a hit. Taxpayers are being asked to take a HUGE hit. But it looks like SEIU is get away relatively unscathed. How is this fair?

As far as I know, there are no projected layoffs for state workers in this budget. And the number of furlough days was cut in half. But as Cristobal points out SEIU will be getting some additional perks:

State will increase their contribution to our health care premiums retroactively January 2009 and throughout the life of the SEIU contract. The increase will mirror what they were paying in 2008. This will help alleviate financial burden for SEIU members.

Per diem rate will be increase from $40 per day to $55 per day.

The State has agreed with the Union to allocate one million dollars for upward mobility.

This agreement is inconsistent with the proposal being sold to the people of California. How can we be asked to support such a deal, when we don’t even know what the REAL DEAL is?

Waste In the Stimulus Bill? Democrat Author Says ‘So What?’

And My brother David wonders why Republicans are scoffing at this pork barrel spending bill, that is only meant to stimulate the money out of the pockets of hard working Americans and into the pockets of liberal special interest groups like Planned Parenthood and Acorn.

David, please read what Michael Obrien with The Hill wrote about the bill’s author who, when asked about wasteful spending in the bill said “So what?”:

Waste In the Stimulus Bill? Democrat Author Says ‘So What?’

How money is spent should be far from the biggest concern about the stimulus package, its chief author, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wisc.) said Friday.

“So what?” Obey asked in response to a question on NPR’s “Morning Edition” about the perceived lack of direction from Congress as to how money in the stimulus should be spent. “This is an emergency. We’ve got to simply find a way to get this done as fast as possible and as well as possible, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Obey said that Congress is not responsible if money is misspent, but rather, whoever spends the money poorly.

“We simply made a decision, which took about three seconds, not to have earmarks in the bill,” Obey told NPR. “And with all due respect, that’s the least important
question facing us on putting together this package.”

As Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Obey had chief oversight in crafting the $825 billion package as passed by the House. The provisions in the bill have been
criticized by Republicans and some centrist Democrats for not being as directly related to stimulating the economy as it should be.

“We have more oversight built into this package than any package in the history of man. If money is spent badly, we want to know about it so we can hold accountable the people who made that choice,” the chairman said. “And guess what? Regardless of what we do, there will be some stupid decisions made.”

Waste In the Stimulus Bill? Democrat Author Says ‘So What?’

And My brother David wonders why Republicans are scoffing at this pork barrel spending bill, that is only meant to stimulate the money out of the pockets of hard working Americans and into the pockets of liberal special interest groups like Planned Parenthood and Acorn.

David, please read what Michael Obrien with The Hill wrote about the bill’s author who, when asked about wasteful spending in the bill said “So what?”:

Waste In the Stimulus Bill? Democrat Author Says ‘So What?’

How money is spent should be far from the biggest concern about the stimulus package, its chief author, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wisc.) said Friday.

“So what?” Obey asked in response to a question on NPR’s “Morning Edition” about the perceived lack of direction from Congress as to how money in the stimulus should be spent. “This is an emergency. We’ve got to simply find a way to get this done as fast as possible and as well as possible, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Obey said that Congress is not responsible if money is misspent, but rather, whoever spends the money poorly.

“We simply made a decision, which took about three seconds, not to have earmarks in the bill,” Obey told NPR. “And with all due respect, that’s the least important
question facing us on putting together this package.”

As Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Obey had chief oversight in crafting the $825 billion package as passed by the House. The provisions in the bill have been
criticized by Republicans and some centrist Democrats for not being as directly related to stimulating the economy as it should be.

“We have more oversight built into this package than any package in the history of man. If money is spent badly, we want to know about it so we can hold accountable the people who made that choice,” the chairman said. “And guess what? Regardless of what we do, there will be some stupid decisions made.”

No Budget! No Pay! Sound like a good idea? NOT!

You would think we would have learned by now that passing a law simply because it “Sounds like a good idea” is no way to govern. Take for example AB 32, the high priced “Green Initiative” which requires business to cut carbon emissions utilizing technology that won’t exist until 2014. The there’s Jessica’s Law, which I like to call the “Sex Offender Omnibus Bill” which law enforcement officials up and down the state have admitted is near impossible to comply with. These are both well meaning policy initiatives that sounded good on paper, but when put into actual practice… not so much.

The bright idea of the day surrounds the California Legislatures lack of ability to come to a compromise on how to handle the fast growing budget deficit. Democrats want massive tax increases and Republicans are holding pat for substantive budget reforms and deeper cuts. And while both sides dig in their heals, doing what they believe to be the right thing, along comes a well meaning who have proposed to withhold legislator’s pay and per diem if they fail to pass the state budget on time. Sounds like a great idea right? I mean, managing the state’s finances is a big part of their jobs. And if they can’t get the job done on time, why should they get paid? (I’ve got you going huh?)

Well before you jump on the bandwagon, read this piece my good friend (and boss) Jeff Greene shared with me. It was written by Former Assemblyman Ray Haynes back during the 2004 budget impasse:

Conflict-of-Interest Budgeting

SCENARIO #1 “Assemblyman Smith, vote for this budget, and our union will write you a check for $15,000. Not to your campaign – to you personally. Buy a new car, get your wife a Louis Vuitton purse, get braces for your kids—we don’t care. Just vote for this budget and the money is yours. I know you don’t like the new taxes and spending, but I can make it worth your while.”

SCENARIO #2 “I don’t care if there are taxes in this budget, we cannot afford to forfeit another month’s paycheck! We’ve exhausted our savings and we’re not going to be able to make our mortgage payment. We’ve got a stack of credit card bills and utility payments due and no money left to pay them. I know you don’t like the new taxes and spending, but it’s not worth going bankrupt for!”

What is the difference between the two scenarios? In one scenario, the personal financial pressure to pass a bad budget comes from a lobbyist. In the second, the financial pressure comes from the legislator’s spouse. In the first, the financial incentive is illegal and the lobbyist could go to prison. Meanwhile, the second scenario could be on the verge of being encouraged in homes all over Sacramento.

Both scenarios include money being used as an incentive to get a legislator to support a budget. Both scenarios result in a legislator having to consider his own personal financial interests over the interests of his district or even the whole State of California. Both are wrong.


Think about it. If you are a conservative, do you really want Republicans to go up on massive tax increases simply, so that they can pay their own bills? If you are a liberal, do you want Democrats to approve deep cuts to education or social welfare programs in order to make sure they don’t miss a check?

While I think most of us can agree with the sentiment, the facts cannot be ignored. Any way you slice it up, this is a “Pay-to-Play” scheme that is a bad idea for California.

Schwarzenegger’s 2009 State of the State Address

Prepared Text of Governor Schwarzenegger’s 2009 State of the State Address

Lt. Governor Garamendi, Chief Justice George, President pro Tem Steinberg, Speaker Bass, Senate Republican Leader Cogdill, Assembly Republican Leader Villines, Members of the legislature, ladies and gentlemen, we meet in times of great hope for our nation.

Although we hear the drumbeat of news about bailouts, bankruptcies and Ponzi schemes, the nation with great anticipation is also awaiting the inauguration of a new president.

Our nation should be proud of what President-elect Obama’s election says to the world about American openness and renewal.

President Reagan used to tell about the letter he got from a man who said that you can go to live in Turkey, but you can’t become a Turk. You can go to live in Japan, but you cannot become Japanese. And he went through other countries.

“But,” the man said, “anyone from any corner of the world can come to America and become an American.”

And now, we know that any American child, no matter what corner of the world his father or mother comes from, can even become President of the United States.

What a wonderful national story for us.

This nation rightfully feels the hope of change.

Californians, of course, desire change here in their own state as well.

Yet they have doubts if that is possible.

For months, in the face of a crisis, we have been unable to reach agreement on the largest budget deficit in our history.

We are in our third special session and we’ve declared a fiscal emergency – and every day that goes by, makes the budget problem that much harder to solve.

As a result of all this, California, the eighth largest economy in the world, faces insolvency within weeks.

The legislature is currently in the midst of serious and good faith negotiations to resolve the crisis, negotiations that are being conducted in the knowledge we have no alternative but to find agreement.

The importance of the negotiation’s success goes far beyond the economic and human impact.

People are asking if California is governable.

They wonder about the need for a constitutional convention.

They don’t understand how we could have let political dysfunction paralyze our state for so long.

In recent years, they have seen more gridlock in Sacramento than on our roads, if such a thing is possible.

I will not give the traditional State of the State address today, because the reality is that our state is incapacitated until we resolve the budget crisis.

The truth is that California is in a state of emergency.

Addressing this emergency is the first and greatest thing we must do for the people.

The 42 billion dollar deficit is a rock upon our chest and we cannot breathe until we get it off.

It doesn’t make any sense to talk about education, infrastructure, water, health care reform and all these things when we have this huge budget deficit.

I will talk about my vision for all of these things… and more… as soon as we get the budget done.

So, no, I did not come today to deliver the normal list of accomplishments and proposals.

I came to encourage this body to continue the hard work you are doing behind closed doors.

There is a context and a history to the negotiations that are underway.

It is not that California is ungovernable. It’s that for too long we have been split by ideology.

Conan’s sword could not have cleaved our political system in two as cleanly as our own political parties have done.

Over time, ours has become a system where rigid ideology has been rewarded and pragmatic compromise has been punished.

And where has this led?

I think you would agree that in recent years California’s legislature has been engaged in civil war.
Meanwhile, the needs of the people became secondary.

Our citizens do not believe that we in government are in touch with their needs.

These needs are not unreasonable.

At the end of the day, most people do not require a great deal from their government.

They expect the fundamentals.

They want to live in safety.

They want a good education for their children.

They want jobs.

They want to breathe clean air.

They want water when they turn on the faucet and electricity when they turn on the switch.

And they want these things delivered efficiently and economically.

One of the reasonable expectations the public has of government is that it will produce a sound and balanced budget.

That is what the legislative leaders are struggling to do right now.

There is no course left open to us but this: to work together, to sacrifice together, to think of the common good – not our individual good.

No one wants to take money from our gang-fighting programs or from Medi-Cal or from education.

No one wants to pay more in taxes or fees.

But each of us has to give up something because our country is in an economic crisis and our state simply doesn’t have the money.

In December, we even had to suspend funding that affects 2,000 infrastructure projects that were already underway.

So, now, the bulldozers are silent.

The nail guns are still.

The cement trucks are parked.

This disruption has stopped work on levees, schools, roads, everything.

It has thrown thousands and thousands of people out of work at a time when our unemployment rate is rising.

How could we let something like that happen?

I know that everyone in this room wants to hear again the sound of construction.

No one wants unemployment checks replacing paychecks.

So, I am encouraged that meaningful negotiations are underway. And, as difficult as the budget will be, good things can come out of it.

Because, in spite of the budget crisis, when we have worked together in the past, we have passed measures that moved this state – and even the nation – forward.

When a budget agreement is reached, when some of the raw emotions have passed, I will send to the legislature the package of legislative goals and proposals that a governor traditionally sends.

These proposals are sitting on my desk. Let me tell you, I have big plans.

They include action on the economy, on water, environment, education, health care reform, government efficiency and reform, job creation.

But, our first order of business is to solve the budget crisis.

And I have an idea going forward.

As you know, in the last 20 years of budgeting, only four budgets have been on time.

So, if you don’t mind, let me make a little suggestion.

We should make a commitment that legislators – and the governor, too – lose per diem
expenses and our paychecks, for every day the budget goes past the constitutional deadline of June 15th.

You have to admit it is a brilliant idea.

I mean, if you call a taxi and the taxi doesn’t come, you don’t pay the driver.

If the people’s work is not getting done, the people’s representatives should not get paid either.

That is common sense in the real world.

And I will send you some other reforms, too.

Let me close by saying something about the fires of 2008.

At one point, I got a phone call that we had 875 wildfires burning all at the same time.

I said to myself, how do we deal with this?

The next morning I get a call, “Governor, there are now 2,014 fires burning all at the same time.”

The largest number on record.

Imagine, 2,000 fires, a huge challenge and every one of those fires was put out.

You know why? Because we have the best trained, the most selfless, the toughest firefighters in the nation.

Thirteen of whom lost their lives.

They gave their lives for this state.

Ladies and gentlemen, the courageous examples of those firefighters should not be lost on us.

In our own way, we, too, must show courage in serving the public.

Ladies and gentlemen, let this be a year of political courage.

Let us be courageous for the people.

Let us be courageous for the common good of California.

Let us resolve the budget crisis, so that we can get on with the people’s work.

Thank you.

Governor finally agrees with GOP Legislators

Here is a quote from Gov. Schwarzenegger you won’t see in the main stream media:

“And now I understand when Republicans say they say that they are serious about negotiating, but when it comes down to the language itself, that’s where it will fall apart. And that’s exactly what happened this time.”

He made this statement after pledging to veto the controversial budget fixed passed on a simple majority vote, in violation of the State Constitution (Click Here to Watch the Video).

What he was commenting on was the fact that when Legislative Democrats negotiate they say they will do one thing. But the devil is in the details-otherwise known as “Bill Language”. Meaning- the bill language that is offered by the Democrats often does not do what they said it would do. This is why it is a general policy amongst assembly Republicans to not agree to any idea- even in concept until you see it in writing. Furthermore, it explains why the GOP has insisted on their issues being address before even considering new revenues.

The truth is that Legislative Democrats don’t believe that they have to actually negotiate with Republicans. They ignore them whenever they don’t need their votes to pass legislation. No matter how salient a point they make may be, it often gets lost in the fervor of getting their bills through the legislative process. They simply state that they are willing to take a look into it as the bill moves along. The bill passes and nothing ever happens.

And when they do need GOP votes, Democrats don’t bother trying to negotiate in good faith. Rather, they try to pick off one or two votes with incentives that may help that member, but don’t necessarily address their overall policy concerns. Of course, the governor cannot necessarily complain about this tactic, since he often employees it himself.

If a deal is going to get done, it will only be when all sides are allowed to sit at the table and negotiate in good faith. All sacred cows need to be on the table- meaning that everyone is going to have to give up something in order to get something.

CA Assembly to vote on $5 billion in new taxes that they are calling “Fees”

Today, Democrats will be offering $5 billion in new taxes, calling them fees. It is believed that by calling them fees, they can be passed by majority vote, rather than the 2/3 vote requirement that is necessary to raise taxes: meaning, they could conceivably pass this without any Republican votes.

Admittedly, I am not sure that this is the case. But cut me some slack, Republicans just got the bill language an hour or so ago. So much for “Open and Transparent Government”.

We have also heard that there will be votes on some education issues and transportation issues, and possibly health and human services. Of course, Democrats may change the whole thing up. Heck, we may not see what is actually being proposed until the members walk into the chamber this afternoon. They have already changed the meeting time. Who knows what else will change.

The California Channel will be broadcasting this session live at 3 p.m. on many local cable channels, or on their live webfeed at http://www.calchannel.com/ . You can also listen to the session live by going to the Assembly’s webpage and clicking on “Floor Session” at the top of this page here: http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Committee_hearings/ . If you are unable to watch live, you will be able to retrieve the broadcast at http://www.calchannel.com/ later in the archives.

Assembly Budget Committee meets tomorrow- Noreen Evans is the only member!

Tomorrow the California Assembly Budget Committee is scheduled to hold on of the most important meetings in recent history. But so far, none of the committee members have been named, other than the committee chair, Assembly member Noreen Evans.

It is difficult to say why no one has been assigned to the committee. But there is not doubt that this is a bad sign as to how serious anyone is taking this hearing. Most insiders understand that the real discussions will be taking place amongst the Big 5. This hearing will like be nothing more than an opportunity for Democrats to shoot down Republican proposals and have the myriad public employee unions and other interest groups to voice their objections to cuts that everyone knows are necessary. Each one will give compelling testimony as to why they should not be cut. And the truth is that in many cases they will be right.

But at the end of the day, everyone is going to have to feel the pain on this one. Nobody’s sacred cow should be off limits. Education, public safety, health and welfare will all take hits.

The questions that must be answered are: What will our priorities be? What hits will have the least impact on our state? What sort of relief from burdensome regulations and controls are we going to give schools, local governments, employers and state agencies so that they can make the best of the resources they have left?

I don’t know that anyone is ready to have these sorts of conversations.

Despite the Governer’s asserstions, Republicans have offered their ideas in this matter. But since he and Democrats don’t like them, they continue to claim that GOP members haven’t offered solutions. The turthe is, they haven’t offered solutions that they like.