Tuesday, May 19, 2009

California Fails

Props 1A-1F are on the ballot today.

1A Extends the sales tax increase from 2 to 4 years. Did we have any say in the first 2 years? No. FAIL

1B Something about actually funding the schools with money allocated currently to schools starting in a few years maybe. FAIL

1C Sells the State Lottery and leases it back to "save" money. FAIL

1D Shuffles money around in children's programs. FAIL

1E Takes money from mental health programs and kinda promises to probably pay it back someday. FAIL

1F Symbolically suspends pay raises when the budget isn't balanced. PASS

I'll post an update at the first calls. Results page

Sadly, the message will be lost on the Legislators in Sacramento. We spend more on the 170,000 prisoners than we do on the far larger State College/University/Community College systems. Probably has something to do with paying guards more than Associate Professors. It isn't just spending less, it is priorities.


Lou Minatti said...

FIRST to say that I am following the results, and gawking at the whines over on the SacBee website.

Rob Dawg said...

First results, 11% reporting 1A-1E fail, 1F passes.

sk said...

All I want to know is did the Lakers win ? S'ok, I was watching the game so I know; I'm in CO, a little outside Boulder, have been for 5 years, by the way.

I'm following the election results at the sacbee site - usual spin but the numbers give it away, with 23% of the precincts(not the same as the % of the great unwashed, I know ) reporting all the props I want to be defeated are losing by at least 15%. Time to toast this with a schnapps..

Yeah a question - was Arnold in DC for the mileage/pollution stuff or was it really to do with getting money from the Fed and negotiating that - like the guarantees for the revenue bonds ?


MaxedOutMama said...

As a non-Californian, what's the next step?

I don't see how you guys stagger forward another six months at this rate. I am presuming that everyone's going to be really careful to ensure that all prepayments of taxes this year are such that the taxpayer owes CA at the end rather than expecting a tax refund from CA. That alone would affect cash flow, but the ongoing disaster is far bigger. Is my impression that the deficits are multiplying like rabbits correct?

Then what happens?

Is there any chance of the legislature getting serious?

Rob Dawg said...

The Federal government will guarantee California bridge bond financing. It will crowd out the munis and cause cascade local funding failures on top of the State withholding necessary local distributions. Ugly.

sk said...

Whilst I usually stay focused on the immediacy of an issue ( the trader view ) - many geographical areas that I am sort of familiar with and care about have gone thru significant ructions recently :

1. Cali.
2. UK - cf the Member of Parliament expenses fiddling scandal; that is a BIG deal -the Speaker has to resign and maybe this will get bigger - the Euro-elections in early June will show something.
3. Indian elections and a persuasive win for the least bad of a pretty corrupt lot; i.e. a loss for the communist lot AND the near-fascist lot.

Sign of the times ? I mean, is there a global "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore" thing going on ?

Perhaps not as clear cut as that , but mood changes never are; but I've lived long enough to have seen these clear cut worldwide mood/attitude changes in the past - '68, '79, '94 and so on.

So, is Cali leading the US nation then ?


Anonymous said...

Did you guys from California ever get the tax refunds the state was holding back?

Stagflationary Mark said...

For what it is worth, I love the Self-Denial picture. It's perfect! Being a green parrot owner, I'm probably a bit biased.

Her name is Birdie and she'd make a horrible California taxpayer (from the perspective of the goverment anyway). Why? She only "bonds" one at a time (with me). Further, it's very tough to bribe the bird. Bite the hand that feeds her? Sure! Just ask my girlfriend!

I'm picturing the thought process.

That's right b**ch. You gave me some food. Now get lost before MY boyfriend (me) sees you here. Hahaha!

Unknown said...

Up early.

65% reporting, still the same results.

So when's the crisis kick off?

TJandTheBear said...

YES!!! Sweet victory!

Of course, those clowns in Sactown won't get the message. Let's see what they come up with next.

Anonymous said...

As a middle amurkin let me just say that I fully endorse the "federal" reserve giving California however much money they think they need. Seriously, I'd rather CA spend the money than see it go to slimey NYC banksters. I also have selfish reasons, I do not want to see an exodus of Californicators (which btw we are already getting) fleeing the insanity. Also I would prefer that CA continue to pay for housing prisoners here in freedum's land because it is our only growth industry now that goldman sachs has shipped all our jobs to chindia. That is all.

NoVa Sideliner said...

Wow, those are some pretty firm NO numbers.

A quick scan of the county vote results seems to indicate that, with the exception of the pay freeze item, the only one that even passed in ANY county was the education-related one (big surprise, it's for the childwen...) and then only in two leftie counties by the Bay. That's it. Everywhere else, even that one lost, usually big.

Sure, turnout was small. But it was very vocal. It's a signal that only a California legislator could ignore.

Now to see what the legislature tries to pull off next.

Peripheral Visionary said...

I think the denial may be on the side of those celebrating the "victory", unfortunately. Rob has already seen which way the wind is blowing, and the Federal government will be involved at some point. They have to; no way will they let California fail and (more importantly!) risk it going Republican, which would turn the country upside down. Look for bailouts for California and for any other big blue states looking at a major deficit (Massachusetts? New York?) Yes, the "flyover" states will be enraged, but in the cynical electorate calculus, they just don't add up to much.

Rob Dawg said...

The Federal government is about to make the same mistake in California ands they did with the banks. Conflating systemic insolvency with a mere liquidity crunch.

w said...

They flyover states do not matter much as you say but they will definitely put a Republican in the White House in 2012.

Taxation in general will push the great undecided "independents" towards the Republicans. Obama will pay for even state taxes as the weak link of association will stick out to these folks. Remember it does not have to be logical.

Then the abortion debate is just starting to heat up. It was at a major lull during the last election, but Obama will not be so lucky next time. The same goes for gay marriage as no doubt those folks will take their best shot during the next 3 years.

My guess is that after 4 years of Obama this nation will collectively feel as if it is on a rudderless ship. Nostalgia could even get W re-elected.

serinitis said...

I can see 3 responses to the budget.

1. Raid local government. They can deal with raising taxes to pay for police

2. Stimulus. We are getting enough stimulus money to paper over the issues for the next 2 years. A little slight of hand with a wink from the Feds and this money is being used to support ongoing operations

3. Fed intervention in exchange for structural change. E.G. Super majority on tax increases, money required to go to specific services, etc.

Republicans in 2012? Dream on. If Casey was the president, we would reelect him just to keep the Republicans out. I suspect they will win in 2016, but they will be running a moderatenorth eastern Republican

Peripheral Visionary said...

serinits, I think you missed one:

4. Fed intervention in exchange for hollow promises, e.g. money with no strings attached.

And I don't think Democrats have to worry about 2012. Not when 2010 is just around the corner . . . isn't Dodd up for re-election? And he can't be the only one who is sweating it. In times like these, the incumbents (translation: majority party) are the ones who get the blame, fair or not.

serinitis said...

The Democrats really want these structural changes, so Obama will insist upon them as part of giving the money.

The spending that is going on is going to protect the Democrats in 2010. Expect a mild uptick in 2010 followed by a major downturn in 2011. The stimulus is spread over 2 years for a reason.

Anonymous said...

As a representative of flyover country let me just say that Hopey will be a one term wonder. I voted for him and two months later was already puking my guts up. I don't care of Ghengis Khan is on the ballot opposite him, if I wanted a libtard neo-con I could've voted for McInsane.

wagga said...

These initiatives are like Arnold - They'll be baaaaaaack!

sm_landlord said...

Kali's local governments must be sweating bullets and kissing their tax income goodbye right about now.

I seriously doubt that the state legislators get the message at all. No doubt they are plotting some new nefarious move, but I doubt they will bring back these propositions in the same form.

The next thing I expect is some dramatic threats coupled with huffington and puffington - when they are through sulking, that is.

But they'll still fund the choo-choo from LAX to SFO, there will still be four layers of permitting agencies for every new industry, parking meter rates will quadruple *again*, new trash and sewer fees will be imposed, prisoner's meals will be upgraded to 3-star from 2-star, the copper on the rotunda of the State Capitol building will be plated with gold, and pothole repair on the state highways will be discontinued.

w said...

I heard Tom McClintock on the radio today saying that it costs CA 43k a year per prisoner in our system. The Feds pay 26k a year. In FL it costs only 18k per year per prisoner.

He proposed a bill to out source 50,000 prisoners to a private company for 23k a year each. Of course the governor and state legislature killed that.

TJandTheBear said...

I dunno... I still have difficulty seeing DC give Sactown anything akin to cash. Way too many other states, cities, counties, etc. have already been pressing their cases for TARP money and all have been rejected to date. How do they say yes to CA and then no to everyone else? They can't, but they also cannot afford to bail out every one of them either.

p.s.: A part of me wants to say "give'em all everything they want!", because that would most assuredly send the entire US system into reboot ASAP.

Funny Circus Bears said...

My brother in law will soon do what generations of his family and many of his friends have already done: Retire at 55 from the California Dept of Corrections with a $100k per year pension and full lifetime medical. The day after his "retirement" he will report for duty as an "independent contractor" on a $100k per year contract. His education consists of a mere High School diploma.

His sister and BIL are both currently operating this same scam - 2 high school grads pulling $400,000 in yearly income from the state plus benies.


Akubi said...

These Special Elections are a complete waste of money; here's some eye candy for you.

segfault said...

@ F C B:

Well, some people want two checks. Prison guard is an unpleasant and dangerous job, and that should be reflected in the salary and benefits package, but $100k+ per year seems excessive, even in CA.

Lou Minatti said...

Funny, if what you say is true then California is in even more dire straights than we thought.

w said...

Prison guards making more than doctors and professors.


w said...

Akubi, it is nice for the girl in the picture to wear that shirt so her customers know that she is carrying STDs.

Peripheral Visionary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peripheral Visionary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peripheral Visionary said...

Blogger reformatting my comments, *grumble*.

Summary: No way are the Democrats going to let the largest Democratic state in the nation go into bankruptcy. Between auto company and "too big to fail" financial institution, California is much more AIG than Chrysler. They'll get the money if that's what they need; it will save California for the Democrats, but will cost them support at the national level.

Unknown said...

May 19, 2009 Listed $2,749,000 -- VCRDS #90008410
Mar 27, 2007 Sold $2,145,000 6.8%/yr Public Records
Feb 13, 2004 Sold $1,750,000 12.7%/yr Public Records


Some people still live in bubble land. I cant wait for the reckoning.

Monica said...

Does the "independent contractor" who works after retiring at 55 get to receive his retirement pension and the pay for his contract work at the same time?

In my opinion, the fact that some exceptionally lucrative opportunities like that exist for people who were not rich to beging with is actually good. It gives a few people the opportunity to move up against all odds. It makes rich, or fairly well-off, a few of those whose economic destiny was to be poor, or lower middle class at best.

More education would not necessarily help them do that, although it could. So don't start about how their "economic destiny" is entirely their fault. There are people with higher education who don't make 100k.

w said...

Monica, the problem is that it is a fundamental waste of taxpayer resources.

Again, here is the yearly cost to keep a prisoner:

CA: 43k
FED: 26k
FL: 18k
independent contractor: 23k

And even with the money being thrown down this rathole in CA we have a prison system in receivership.

The same analysis of the school system makes one wonder where the f*** the money has gone.

I guess it all is Bush's fault.

Peripheral Visionary said...

What w said. And while "opportunity" is incredibly appealing, the question remains, what value are they adding to the country? Prison guard is a dangerous and unpleasant job and is necessary to the economy, but then, so is running the trash compacter at the recycling plant. Unlike the guy running the trash compaction machine, however, California prison guards have a pay level that is not tied to economic factors as much as to their political clout. That is gross inefficiency, and as w said, a waste of taxpayer dollars.

The same "opportunity for the working class to strike it rich" argument could be made for the lottery, but I don't think anybody would argue that that should be funded with public dollars. It wouldn't be an effective use of taxpayers dollars--and nor are lottery-like pension plans for retired prison guards an efficient use of taxpayer funds. The prison system needs major reform to reorient it as an institution that serves society, rather than a monopoly run for the benefit of its employees.

Rob Dawg said...

I've long had the answer. Reduce pay and benefits until there are only 10 qualified applicants for every advertised position.

Tell me the error.

Mr. Outspoken said...


The error with that policy is that it would start a race to the bottom. The guards would only be paid the minimum for qualifications. This would eliminate the government as a boost to the lower peoples. In the same way hiring a contractor would start a race to the bottom, as the contractor would race to the bottom finding the lowest possible costs to house the prisoners, potentially moving prisons from the communities where they have brought up families of guards who depend on them, and wreaking havoc on the local communities and real estate. Is that really what this country was founded on?

Pleather Murse said...

from the L.A. Times:

Phoenix's housing bust goes boom

Phoenix's housing bust has turned into a quasi-boom, a sign that its market may have hit bottom and a sneak preview of what a national housing recovery could look like.

More homes are selling than at any time since 2006. Prices are slowly stabilizing. Buyers are once again finding themselves in frantic bidding wars -- only this time over foreclosed houses selling at deep discounts rather than ranch homes listing for vast sums.


Unknown said...

In my opinion, the fact that some exceptionally lucrative opportunities like that exist for people who were not rich to beging with is actually good. It gives a few people the opportunity to move up against all odds. It makes rich, or fairly well-off, a few of those whose economic destiny was to be poor, or lower middle class at best.But the money, Monica, it comes from the taxpayer, not from the sky. So it is a wealth redistribution scheme of the worst sort -- it robs from everyone to give generously to a few. And it does it in a state that's bankrupt. Doesn't that seem a little, well, insane?

More education would not necessarily help them do that, although it could. So don't start about how their "economic destiny" is entirely their fault. There are people with higher education who don't make 100k.So it's not their education, it's their willingness to take part in a highly organized industry lobby focused around putting their fellow man in a cage, as often as possible, for as long as possible? Doesn't that seem a little, well, insane, as a way to pick who gets the big bucks?

Son of Brock Landers said...

Maybe California can use all those empty private industry prisons constructed on Chimpy McBushitler's evil orders to hold dissidents?

Good luck central CA in your attempt to separate from the LA-San Fran coastal enclaves.

Akubi said...

How about letting the Fed deport all of the illegal aliens in our prison system? They should never have been our problem in the first place.

Peripheral Visionary said...

Serin has competition; for those who haven't followed this story, it's a pretty amazing read:

Ahem: NYT Reporter Who Defaulted On Subprime Mortgage Left Out Key Details (Clusterstock)

And the long rant in the middle of the comments has all the hallmarks of an IAFF regular (including several direct references to Serin); anybody willing to take credit?

NoVa Sideliner said...

Ah yes, Mr. Andrews. I posted a bunch of his mortgage details on Lou Minatti's blog a few days ago.

Seems that good ol' Mr. Andrews was very much enamored of mortgages where he need pay down no principle, to me a bit of a sign that they're spending every penny they earn, and more.

I can't imagine what the third bank was thinking when they refi'd him. Oh wait, looking at the numbers, I know what they were thinking: That $417,000 was exactly the amount they could pawn off on the criminals and fools at Fannie Mae -- and thus, down the chain as it turned out, to you and me.

Jean ValJean said...

Here's the part that no one is mentioning and infuriates me to no end:





Ok, My caps-lock key is fixed now.

NoVa Sideliner said...

Yeah, pretty disturbing that he's a finance columnist. Then again, maybe he does have some good experience dealing with financial problems, bankruptcies, repossessions, and the like. :-)

Given that he pulled out a mortgage at 8.5% for himself, I really have to wonder at what kind of advice he gave in his columns. (To his credit, he realized his mistake soon after and went for another refi.)

I can't speak to what he wrote about, having seen none of it, but I do wonder if people like him were behind one of the articles I read in a popular personal finance rag, er, mag, in April 2007 I think it was:

A couple in California had a house worth at the time roughly 800k. They owed 250k but wanted to sell out and retire a couple of years early to a cheaper state. Should they do it?

The "advisor" said no! He said that would be foolish. They should keep working the next two years, and meawhile take out a huge home equity loan and put that money in "good stock mutual funds". (!!!) And then they'd be able to retire in 2009 or 20010 and pay back the loan. Riches!

I remember thinking "Is this frikkin' April's Fool or something. WTF is he telling them???" Insane.

I wonder where those poor people are now.

Tyrone said...

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing to completely eliminate the state’s welfare program for families, medical insurance for low-income children and Cal Grants cash assistance to college and university students.

The proposals to sharply scale back the assistance that California provides to its neediest residents came in testimony by the administration this afternoon at a joint legislative budget committee hearing. It followed comments by the governor earlier today that he would be withdrawing a proposal to help balance the budget with billions of dollars of borrowing and replacing it with program reductions.

The proposals would completely reshape the state’s social service network, transforming California from one of the country’s most generous states to one of the most tightfisted. The proposals are intended to help close a budget deficit estimated at $21.3 billion.

averagerainfall said...

Serin and this Andrews character from the NYTimes would make good cell-mates.

It's too bad though... instead of these two thieves getting assaulted in FPMITA prison, it's the taxpayers who will take it up the poop-chute yet again. :-p

Monica said...

Serin is now a respectable, employed individual who's doing his best to keep his job.

Lou Minatti said...

Jean, the correct spelling of Mr. Andrews' name is sphincter.

w said...

Tyrone, the state politicains are just going for maximum shock and awe instead of dealing with the real problems.

It's the pensions, benefits and overtime stupid!(Just a slogan not directed at anyone.)

Lost Cause said...

Is there still no sales or use tax on yachts and private planes in California? Is there still no royalty paid on a barrel of oil extracted from California?

Lost Cause said...

After the GM bankruptcy, the CA BK will be easy.

averagerainfall said...

Serin is now a respectable, employed individual who's doing his best to keep his job.
Right, so let's just sweep his prior thefts of almost half a million dollars under the rug.

Monica said...

He's doing his best under the circumstances. What would he have to do to make you happy? He can't pay back every dirty penny if he doesn't have the money.

Akira said...

Happy Fishnet Friday!

averagerainfall said...

He can't pay back every dirty penny if he doesn't have the money.

Seems to me that the kid has bought, within the past year, a $4,000 RV, a similar 2nd van (!!), and is renting an apartment in downtown Sacramento. But he somehow has no money to pay off the creditors whom he stole from. Interesting.

To make the most hardened Haterz™ happy, frankly he should be imprisoned. Is that blunt enough? Yeesh.

Monica said...

But you guys were saying that prison costs too much.

Unknown said...

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing to completely eliminate the state’s welfare program for families, medical insurance for low-income children and Cal Grants cash assistance to college and university students.
"Ich liebe dich, mich reizt deine schöne Gestalt;
Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch' ich Gewalt."

Sun said...

Hey Casey,
Just curious...other than writing yoga/birthday party blog posts, telling you which comments to approve on your personal blog, and making you wear hats - what else is Angel making you to do?


serinitis said...

Casey's job does include picking up rotten fruit (no gay jokes please). We tried to get him promoted to mowing lawns as well, but I don't think Angel trusts him with power tools.

Sun said...

Casey mowing the lawn would be a sweet post that would drive up sweet traffic...but he does not know how to use a lawnmower, and would probably put the oil in the gas tank.

w said...

The economy really is shrinking.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. NuCasey isn't like Old Casey. It's either new drugs that are changing his personality, he's really, really internalized some new self help drivel, or it's someone else ghostwriting for him.

averagerainfall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
averagerainfall said...

I think that Angel Lynn Realty™ simply hired Casey as the token gay guy to appease the EEOC.

Seriously, I have no idea why else he'd be hired. This is an outfit with 3 nice-looking women; when they wanted to hire a guy to balance out the staff, who better than someone that won't ogle them and hit on them all day long -- a total flamer like Serin.

Sun said...

The picture says it all. Three smiling faces and one token hat wearer.

Lost Cause said...

A Hot Market in Foreclosed HomesEvery weekday morning, Lou Jarvis drives the sun-baked streets of suburban Phoenix looking for investment gold: a house in foreclosure, like this one in Gilbert, Ariz., that will be auctioned within a few hours. If the property looks promising, Mr. Jarvis puts in a bid on behalf of his clients, investors from Canada. If he wins, he offers to let the family stay in the house and rent for much less than their mortgage payment. Not surprisingly, his offers are often welcomed.

Brian Borden, peering through the window of a foreclosed home, works with Mr. Jarvis at Brewer-Caldwell, a property management firm that is helping the CBI Group, a real estate fund based in Calgary, Alberta, buy 175 houses. "This type of deal is absolutely not available in Canada," said a CBI executive, Jarrett Zielinski. His company's goal, he says, is to sell the houses back to its tenants.

Lost Cause said...

Casey looks a little jaundiced. Hep C?

Lou Minatti said...

(channeling Beevis & Butthead)

Uh... hehehehe hmmm hehehehe...

Rob Dawg has 69 Astute Observations.

Hmmhemm hehehe I am CORNHOLIO!

Pleather Murse said...

The Phoenix area really does have some great bargains in housing right now (cf. my link above to the L.A. Times article.) You can actually find some decent houses in the $35-50K range. Not tear-down ghetto eyesores but actual inhabitable homes in average neighborhoods. Phoenix itself leaves a lot to be desired but it's within driving distance of L.A. and it can't be beat during the winter months. Stay away during summer though. Summer in Phoenix is sort of like winter in the northeast ... people either go elsewhere or stay indoors as much as possible.