Saturday, January 12, 2008

SUVs About to Stage a Comeback in California

Digging deeper into The Budget (yes, it gets capitalization and you don't need to ask which budget) I was expecting the usual games and lies. This is only supposed to be about tough choices and compromise. No such luck. What's going to get hammered are capital projects. You know, things like road repair and freeway lanes are -projects- and don't have recurring budgets like -programs-. Better (depending on perspective) when a project is delayed the existing money actually counts against other spending programs in the aggregate.

What about personnel? Another case of a perfect storm. Public safety retirement is so generous we are going to see some very expensive new recurring costs. 'Retired' 45 year old prison guards and CHP looking to pull 110% salary pensions for another 40 years. Bad roads, fewer cops, 20,000 prisoner releases. You are gonna need an all terrain vehicle and it better be armored.


So, this means one good thing, the CA-AHSR is probably dead for a decade. Other than that the outlook for the State 5 years from now is "shabby." Another interesting possible wildcard that I need to research more; population projections. We might do okay with education if there's a baby bust but sales tax revenues crater. On that last expect CA to lead all the States in an internet sales tax. Conjecture but that could come this summer and it will be interesting to see if there are any successful holdouts among the States. I doubt but makes for good political watching.


wagga said...

I'd test drive that first before I bought it.

Rob Dawg said...

Sorry, Casey crashed it on the track already.

tonysoprano70 said...

Greatings! Back from the grave I am! Glad to be back.. I kind of gave up on posting after Casey went AWOL. Plus I've been kind of busy with the new career.

Lex said...

"What's going to get hammered are capital projects."

This is always the case. Capital projects neither vote nor have unions (the people that work on them don't count, as they will get paid whether anything ever gets built). There's also some strange law of government expediture that it's easier to fund a capital project that's new and useless rather than fix one that's old but necessary. It takes a bridge collapse to garner any public attention and even that's fleeting, as the legislators must return to more important matters, such as gay marriage and steroid investigations.

Not directly CA-related but on the subject of budget-cutting, this is a disgrace:

Argonne National Laboratory

chickenlittle said...

Given the historical role of the national labs (especial in physics) they aren't going away anytime soon. But they badly need a focus. In my years as a research scientist, I learned that the national labs were, dollar for dollar, THE most expensive place to conduct research.

In chemistry, tell me why a bright young person should consider a career, when the industry has been so gutted and hollowed? Academia is still filled with aging boomers, and there has been a decadeold drive to make the faculties "look like America" rather than just focussing on excellence.

Lex said...


you're correct, and disgrace was too strong a word. Obviously, if outside academics and private companies need the facilities so badly, payment does not have to be subsidized. My comment was a somewhat irrational response to the relatively minor amounts involved and manner of the reduction, partly aggravated by reading a previous story concerning the annual pay of the police chief in a city of 100K people in my county making $240K a year.

Ogg the Caveman said...

Neglecting maintenance is even worse when part of your highway system floats. WSF is feeling the effects of putting off both maintenance and new construction, and doesn't have enough spare boats to cover. This comes after one key run suddenly shut down because the only boats small enough to serve it were 80 years old and found to have terminal hull rot.

Being solvent is nice though. Then the question is not how to pay for it but where to find dry dock space, and how quickly new boats can be launched.

Akubi said...

Despite drastic cuts and the early release of inmates can someone please explain why Arnold has budgeted $136 million for a new death row at San Quentin (400K per bed), the oldest and most expensive prison to operate in the state?
What a waste.

Hi Tony,
What’s your new career?

Akubi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ogg the Caveman said...

That's easily solved. Bayfront land has got to be worth something. Just outsource the prisoners to other states, bulldoze the prison, put in McMansions, and sell. Sweet!

Akubi said...

Imagine the McMansion development possibilities: Scott Peterson Lane, Richard Allen Davis Drive, Richard Ramirez Street and Charles Manson Way. Given that some of the most famous murderers in recent U.S. History have resided there, I'm sure there's some serious cash to be made. Marilyn Manson would probably buy the entire Charles Manson Way sight unseen.

Ogg the Caveman said...

They'd have to have a street called Death Row, too.

Lou Minatti said...

Won't you please buy a condo? Pretty please?