They Should Write Checks to Taxpayers, Not Ask for Checks

Shame, it’s been claimed, is a uniquely human characteristic. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, Adam and Eve don’t feel ashamed being thread-bare until the old ball-and-chain chomps on the apple of knowledge.

“The only shame is to have none,” says Blaise Pascal, the 17th Century French mathematician, physicist and philosopher.

Apparently, this uniquely human characteristic does not extend to some members of the California Legislature.

A budget was signed 12 days ago, October 8, for a fiscal year that began nearly four months ago on July 1.

The budget sets the state’s policy priorities. It dictates how more than $89 billion of taxpayer money will be spent. Without question, it’s the single most important task lawmakers and the governor are charged with accomplishing each year.

This year the J-O-B wasn’t completed – some argue very convincingly it still isn’t – until 100 days after the spending plan was supposed to be in place.

Tallying the delay, the longest in the state’s 160-year history, from June 15 when the constitution requires a budget to be sent by the Legislature to the governor, it’s actually 115 days.

In the private sector, it “the team” failed to deliver what management established as the core function of the organization within 15 days of the completion date, let alone 115,  “the team” would contributing to the multi-billion insolvency of the state’s unemployment insurance fund.

And yet after their abysmal, irresponsible and disingenuous performance, some lawmakers have the gall to ask for money to return them to office.

Five had the temerity to show their faces in Sacramento October 19 and another five on October 20.

Shame would dictate slinking out of town under cover of darkness and not returning until absolutely necessary and then only with a fake moustache, sunglasses and a slouch hat.

The “yes” votes and the “no” votes are equally duplicitous.

Not only is the budget 115 days late, it’s a burning brown paper bag of dog-doo on the next governor’s front porch – and the chuckleheads just rang the doorbell.

Among the premises of the so-called spending plan that took three months to bring to a vote, is that California will get $5.3 billion in new federal funds of which only $1.3 billion has been received.

It might have been one thing if the delay resulted from a cataclysmic ideological struggle over broadening the state’s tax base, a surefire but politically unpopular way of avoiding future budget revenue peas and troughs.

Or forcing state departments to review their core functions and restrict their spending to those areas.

Or a teensy, tiny tax increase instead of the multi-billion tax giveaways approved as part of last February’s budget.

But it wasn’t any of those things. It was just an abdication of responsibility, another year of papering over California long-standing systemic budget imbalance. A classic example of what Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he refuses to do: “Kick the can down the road.”

And it was a pretty wimpy kick at that.

Bob Blumenfield, a Van Nuys Democrat, is chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. He wants $1,000 to share lunch at Pyramid Ale House on K St. And talk about what? The grand and glorious woof-and-tweeter of the half-assed phony “budget” the Legislature approved earlier in the month?

Newly elevated Senate GOP Leader Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga wants minimum of $1,000 for the pleasure of his company at cocktails at Chops near the Capitol.

Cathleen Galgiani, a Tracy Democrat, wants to break bread for $1,000 a few hours earlier at the same location. At least Sen. Ron Calderon, a Montebello Democrat, may feel some modest amount of shame. The minimum to attend his October 20 event from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Cafeteria 15L is $600.

Will he charge $1,200 next year if the budget is only 50 days late?


Filed under: Venting


  1. Like Jerry Maguire, saying the things we think but dare not say…Thanks, Greg.

    Comment by Robyn Boyer — 10.21.2010 @ 10:31 am

  2. This is the strongest argument yet for returning California to a part-time legislature!

    Comment by Joyce Stoer Cordi — 10.21.2010 @ 11:35 am

  3. Agree with the part-timers. How about a serious discussion of any of the recent tax restructure plans that have been presented?

    Comment by Dave — 10.23.2010 @ 10:02 am

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