Thursday, July 31, 2008

Arnold's bold move; good idea, not far enough

So today, our governator signed an executive order to force the state to pay all non-essential personnel federal minimum wage, lay off all temporary workers, and suspend all payment programs until the state passes a budget. Basically, this is what the California constitution requires (not spending money without a budget), but the legislature has been wink-nudge ignoring it for the last 5+ years of budget impasses, and this year looks no different. Arnold is hoping the order will prod the legislature to do their f-ing jobs (not likely), and the political backlash won't be inaccurately attributed to him instead of the legislature (also not likely).

It's a good idea, I think, overall, but I don't think it goes far enough. The order allows for back-paying of everyone's normal wages after a budget is passed, so it really only hurts the lower-class employees who are less financially secure. Personally, I'd like to see a constitutional amendment which provides this action as an automatic consequence of not passing a budget on time, and have no provision for paying back amounts once a budget is passed. In essence, all non-emergency state employees would get federal minimum wage while the legislature was wasting time with their partisan fighting and shirking their responsibilities. Maybe we could also strengthen the balanced budget amendment at the same time to prevent carrying multi-billion dollar deficits.

It's high time the California legislature was properly admonished for their years and years of abuse, out of control spending, corruption, and outright idiocy. If we implemented the amendment, we might actually get an on-time budget, and that in and of itself would be a huge victory over the status quo for California's government.

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