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California is Not Unique June 25, 2009

Posted by Dwight and Lynn Furrow in Current Events, Dwight Furrow's Posts.
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As California struggles to pass a budget, it’s worth remembering that other states are struggling as well. As the New York Times recently reported:

All but four states must have new budgets in place less than two weeks from now — by July 1, the start of their fiscal year. But most are already predicting shortfalls as tax collections shrink, unemployment rises and the stock market remains in turmoil.

“These are some of the worst numbers we have ever seen,” said Scott D. Pattison, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers, adding that the federal stimulus money that began flowing this spring was the only thing preventing widespread paralysis, particularly in the areas of education and health care. “If we didn’t have those funds, I think we’d have an incredible number of states just really unsure of how they were going to get a new budget out.”

And the situation may be even worse next year because state budgets usually lag behind an economic recovery.

So I’m wondering if all those Republicans and centrist Democrats who took money out of the stimulus package that was headed to the states are having regrets.

It is about time for the Federal Government to take note, according to economist Stephen Levy.  Via Neil Peirce:

But the real problem, notes Levy, is “a massive national recession” that’s not California’s fault. A faltering state government, ending welfare to work, cutting school years, ravaging university and student aid budgets, means “we’re eating our seed corn,” throwing a long dark shadow across the future. And with sharply reduced state spending, deepening and lengthening recession.

Levy’s message to President Obama and Congress: Enact a second-round stimulus bill — perhaps $150 billion — as a safety net for states (maybe $20 billion for California). The funds could focus first and foremost, he asserts, on investment in America’s children and youth.

There’s a counterargument — the federal government is already dangerously into red-ink spending, imperiling its future creditworthiness. Levy’s rejoinder: If Washington can bail out AIG and banks, how about a safety net for its own children?

But if the feds do provide California with stimulus money, I suspect Schwarzenegger would refuse to take it, just as his counterpart in South Carolina, Governor Mark Sanford, attempted to do before he was stymied by the State Supreme Court.

Would Schwarzenegger then disappear with a “friend” for five days.

 

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

or Visit the Website: www.revivingliberalism.com

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