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.