California: Jerry Brown lives down to expectations

January 5, 2011

Well, that didn’t take long. Either we do what Jerry says and continue our exorbitant tax rates or the kids get it:

Gov. Jerry Brown will spare K-12 schools from further drastic cuts in his budget – so long as voters extend higher income taxes in a special election, according to sources familiar with his proposal.

The tradeoff wouldn’t cure education ills, and many districts would still face another year of fewer school days and larger class sizes. But it could avert even deeper cuts after years of school rollbacks and help Brown galvanize powerful education support for tax hikes in a June special election.

“If something like that happens, I’m going to be looking for the feet to be kissed,” said Kevin Gordon, a veteran education lobbyist, of the Brown education proposal. “The big question is, what will the voters do, and if voters don’t come through, will we go through incredible anxiety all over again?”

Brown does not plan to suspend Proposition 98, the state’s minimum guarantee for K-12 and community college funding, though he may seek to do so if the tax hike extensions don’t pass.

For those not familiar with our Sacramento-based soap opera, this is a ploy the legislature (and pliant governors like Schwarzenegger) have used in recent years to scare us into voting for new taxes: promise doom and the death of beloved programs unless we agree to give them even more money. And the newspapers act as their shills. It’s emotional blackmail at its worst, a typical liberal-statist ploy to avoid any real cuts to their precious spending by scaring the public.

And it ignores very real areas in which substantive cuts could be made, cuts that should be considered before any tax-hike proposal. Jon Fleischman of Flash Report has listed several in a hard-hitting post:

  • Have we ended collective bargaining for public employees?
  • Have we gone through and eliminated every possible state employee or contractor possible, streamlining our workforce such as in the private sector?
  • Have we privatized anything (roads, prisons, universities)?
  • Have we eliminated some of the vast array of hundreds of state boards and commissions?
  • Have we made permanent changes to social welfare spending to prevent future spending abuse?
  • Have we put forward repealing unspent bonds (especially high speed rail)?
  • Have we eliminated all of those high-paying, cushy commissions that are landing pads for termed-out legislators?
  • How about implementing all of the cost-savings suggested in the comprehensive California Performance Review?
  • How about ending taxpayer-provided cars (two of them) for members of the legislature?
  • Or how about ending the use of legislatures using public funds to mail “push-surveys” to constituents?

I’ll add another: Have we eliminated the subsidies to community colleges, which cost the taxpayers over $4 billion per year? Yes, it will be hard on their students to have to pay market rates, but higher education is a public good, not an unalienable right. In times of hardship with no new revenues coming in, these are the hard choices we have to look at.

And speaking of new revenue, notice there’s no mention of exploiting this state’s vast natural resources to raise money through royalties. Former Assemblyman Chuck DeVore had a very good proposal to develop the vast oil wealth off the California coast by use of safe slant-drilling techniques for an estimated $16 billion a year in new revenue. That would go a long way toward curing our deficit. Why tax us into penury when we have “money in the vault?”

Back to Jerry’s proposal blackmail: the taxes he wants to extend were enacted as “temporary” measures in 2009, and voters defeated a ballot initiative that same year to extend them for two years — an initiative accompanied by similar dire warnings of DOOM! if it did not pass. We turned it down then 2-1 and, if Jerry and the liberal-statists who control the legislature want to have that battle again, bring it on. California has a spending problem, not a tax-revenue problem. Until we see deep cuts in spending to match revenue, new revenues outside of taxes, and changes in the ways the spending of our money takes place, the Mandarins of Green Dome on 10th Street get nothing.

PS. Anyone else note the deep irony of liberal Democrats, who proclaim their concern for the children ad nauseam, trying to get their way by threatening… the children? One could almost drown in the depths of their insincerity.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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Such a nice neighbor!

November 17, 2009

Egyptian cleric Mahmoud al-Masri tells the story of a nice Muslim man who did his Jewish neighbor a favor: he tricked him into converting to Islam and then told him “if you leave the faith, we’ll kill you.”

And he said it all with a smile:

My dear brothers, we want to repent, and we want to take by the hand those people who have not yet repented. We should feel pity for them. By Allah, we should not be tough with them. These people are sick. They are sinners. We should feel pity for them, we should care for them. We should act like doctors who care for the sick. You should care for them and feel great pity for them, and seek any ingenious way to make a person repent.

I’d like to tell you a very nice story. Once there was a Muslim who lived next to a Jew. The Muslim saw in the Jew a measure of goodheartedness – however small – and he wanted to find any way to make him convert to Islam. So he went to him and asked: “Don’t you feel the need for Islam? Why don’t you become a Muslim?” The Jew said: “The only thing preventing me from becoming a Muslim is that I love drinking alcohol. I would have become a Muslim ages ago, but the only thing stopping me is that I am an alcoholic.”

The Muslim devised a plan. He said: “No problem – become a Muslim, and continue to drink.” The Muslim didn’t meant this, of course, but he said to him: “Become a Muslim, and continue to drink.” The Jews said: “Fine.” He said: “I proclaim that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” The Muslim said to him: “Now you have become a Muslim. If you drink alcohol, we will carry out the punishment for drinking alcohol on you, and if you renounce Islam, we will kill you.” So the man remained a Muslim and never drank alcohol again. This was a nice trick by this good Muslim.

For video of Smiling Mahmoud explaining the Islamic version of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, visit MEMRI.


When bullies whine

October 10, 2009

Forever playing the victim, Iran’s UN ambassador complains when Israel threatens to do something about Iran’s genocidal threats against Israel:

Iran: Israel’s threats inexplicable

Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Khazaee, sent a letter of protest to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in which he wrote that “there is no explanation for Israel’s continuing threats against Tehran”.

He was referring to an interview given by former Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh to the Sunday Times in which he said that if Iran were not further sanctioned by this Christmas Israel would attack the country.

Sneh told the paper that if Israel were forced to attack the Islamic Republic on its own it would do so, remarks the Iranian ambassador deemed “irresponsible”.

Poor Iran. It’s always being picked on by those Western-Crusader-Imperialist-Zionist Lackey tools of the Jewish Conspiracy(tm). I mean, it’s not as if Iranian officials have:

You’re right, Mr. Ambassador. It’s totally unreasonable and unfair for the Israelis to threaten Iran over its pursuit of nuclear weapons aimed at Jews peaceful nuclear power.

via Jihad Watch

(Cross-posted at Sister Toldjah)