WatchSonoma Watch

GOLIS: GOP’s turn to wreck California

Pete Golis


Whether Democrat, Republican or one of the growing number of Decline to State voters, most Californians long ago joined the party of the disillusioned, disgusted and disenfranchised.

No one was surprised when a pre-election survey found most voters believe a third major party is needed because the others are doing such a lousy job — or that the same survey found only 10 percent of voters approved of the performance of the state Legislature.

You know how insiders conspired to take you out of the game. Partisan gerrymanders and closed primaries tilted the playing field in favor of right-wing ideologues in Republican districts and public employees unions in Democratic districts.

What followed, inevitably, were the years of political stalemate that brought California to its current humiliation.

Now come Republican legislators with a more direct assault on your right to vote.

In resisting a budget compromise last week, these Republicans said they were opposing a five-year extension of existing taxes. But they weren’t being asked to support a tax extension. They were being asked to put the measure on the ballot.

By their actions, what they were saying is they don’t trust you to decide.

They should be ashamed of their blind dogma — and their timidity in the face of right-wing critics who don’t live in California and care only about advancing their ideological agenda.

This is not to say that Democrats in the state Legislature deserve your trust. They spent too many years destroying that trust to be granted a pass now.

But California is in a world of trouble.

For the comfortable, it may be pleasant to believe someone else will suffer.

And the victims will include the poor, the aged, the sick and schoolchildren.

But the prosperity and well-being of all Californians is now at risk, and it’s delusional to pretend otherwise. When a cop doesn’t arrive when they need one, when the street in front of their house is cratered with potholes, when a failing transportation system causes employers to look elsewhere, when they wait in line at city hall (or city hall is closed), maybe then people will figure it out.

In government meeting rooms all over California, the pain is being passed around — and the worst is yet to come if there is no extension of existing taxes.

Here’s one example among many: The Santa Rosa Board of Education expects to cut spending by $12 million over the next two years, but without a tax extension, the cuts could reach $22 million. Most school districts find themselves dismantling critical programs because they have run out of other options.

Most other local agencies face the same dire circumstances. Supervisor Efren Carrillo used words such as “calamitous” and “devastating” in describing what could happen to county government.

If they want, voters can hide behind the complaint that government abrogated its responsibility when it failed to live within its means.

True enough. But there comes the time when the well-being of our towns and our state requires us to put aside our disgust and deal with what is real. Now is that time.

There is a reason, after all, that business groups have tried to encourage a budget compromise. They know it will be devastating for the economy if there isn’t revenue to head off the most draconian spending cuts.

If folks are looking for a reason to feel more optimistic, there is this: Beginning next year, redistricting reform and open primaries will make Sacramento a more welcome place for mainstream, common sense politics.

Since he took office in January, Gov. Jerry Brown has been honest about what will be necessary to get California back on track, and the Legislature has shown a newfound maturity, agreeing to more than $11 billion in spending cuts.

Brown, who worked hard at finding common ground with legislative Republicans, now describes them as obstructionists — a label more precise than pejorative.

It’s instructive that two Republican lawmakers were targeted last week in radio ads purchased by anti-tax groups. These pre-emptive strikes against the risk of a budget compromise tell the story: Anti-tax groups don’t want the people of California to be able make this decision.

Maybe voters will turn down an extension of taxes. Polls show voters are closely divided.

But the decision should be ours — simply because the stakes are so high. The outcome is too important to be left to a handful of Republicans who live in fear of being labeled not conservative enough. And the decision is too important to be left once again to the chronic dysfunction of state government.

All we ask is a chance to vote on our own future.

64 Responses to “GOLIS: GOP’s turn to wreck California”

  1. David J. Spencer says:

    WOW!!! Lookit the obfuscation from ol’ Pete here. People need to understand that when the fiscal year ends on June 30th & the new fiscal year begins the dynamic changes FROM whether or not to extend existing taxes TO whether or not to raise taxes; the dynamic changes from EXTENDING TAXES to RAISING TAXES. The people are still going to get to vote; they’re just going to decide whether or not they’ll raise taxes, rather than extending them. Democrats are scared because this change in the dynamics will require 2/3 of the electorate to approve, and the Democrats don’t think that’s going to happen. The Democrats don’t trust the voters.

    I, OTOH, trust the electorate, much more than I do the Legislature or the Governor. Most of the time the electorate’s instincts have proven to be sound. We have just to look to the north of us to see what kind of taxing decision the electorate can make. Just a few years ago the voters of Lake/Mendocino Counties imposed a property tax on themselves to finance a Community College District, and a brand-new Community College Campus is now about to open in Lakeport as a result.

    The voters can be trusted to decide for themselves, and that new College campus in Lakeport proves it.

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  2. Native Californian says:

    Well, they did lower their expected return 1/4%…. Calpers may have a 2% built in COLA, Sonoma County does not. I know a retiree with no raise in retirement for 9 years and counting. He has been retired 9 1/2… Not every system is the same.

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  3. Stephen Radeljic says:

    @ John

    Not to worry about the mis-spelling….

    I still suspect that most of the rank and file public employees that will lose their jobs soon will attribute their termination of employment to more than just the current economic situation.

    What I’m most certain is that the number of laid off public employees will be rather substantial.

    As this situation deteriorates, there will be an ample number of FORMER public employees that may decide to share their views regarding this issue.

    I hope for the best. It’s unfortunate that these folks will be sacrificed to sustain a flawed and broken pension system.

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  4. Reality Check says:

    //That $600 million, though a huge sum of money to any individual, is less than 1/4 of 1% of the $235 Billion in Calpers. You are all getting caught up in the numbers.//

    Unfortunately, you are lost in the numbers. There is no relevance to the added $600m except to those who have pay it. In California today, it’s relevant.

    Worse, the $600m increase is a small amount of what the state needs to be pay. It’s “small” only because CalPers “smoothed” its payment formula from averaging returns over 3 years to 15 years, significantly reducing what would have been a larger increase.

    And then let’s not forget CalPer’s recent decision to ignore is own actuary’s recommendation to reduce its expected investment returns by 1/4%. That was done to avoid the political pain it would cause local governments.

    Let’s hope the Fed’s money printing scheme lifts the stock market sufficiently to cover up this looming crisis. Of course unless one’s pension has a tight COLA expect your pension to buy less.

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  5. Native Californian says:

    “”And please explain why last year CalPers demanded an $600 million increase in taxpayer contributions?”"

    I didnt bother to look it up. I pay my advisor 1.5% annually. My money goes up, he gets more. My money goes down, he gets less. He watches it close and communicates well. Up 64% in the last 12 months.

    That $600 million, though a huge sum of money to any individual, is less than 1/4 of 1% of the $235 Billion in Calpers. You are all getting caught up in the numbers. Look at the big picture. That is like buying a gallon of gas and then they ask you for one more penny. Do you lose your mind in anger? No, that is an extremely minor adjustment in comparison. It can be explained if you dig, but it isn’t worth my time.

    Now you will say, “See, $600 million doesn’t even matter to these people!” No, not is the scheme of $235 Bil… It doesn’t matter… It is a lot of money, but it is only 1/4 of 1%… How crazy are you gonna get over that?

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  6. John says:

    @ GAJ – You conflict yourself. This is from a link you provided in your post on 4-10-11 @ 11:52am

    “However, the State Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) estimates the actual contribution may be as low as $481 million based on more recent projections of lower payroll growth. According to the LAO analysis, the estimated increase to the State general fund budget will be $184 million; the rest of the increase will be paid with non-general-fund revenues generated by self-funded agencies – commonly referred to as special fund agencies.”

    So which is it?

    A question about the last part of your 4-5-11 post…are you suggesting that unions control PERS investments? That’s funny!

    @ Stephen – I have to disagree. I would bet that most if not all those workers would say the core reason they lost their jobs was because of the economy. Which collapsed because of wall street and the financial markets.
    (sorry about the previous mis-spelling of your name)

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  7. Stephen Radeljic says:

    @ John

    I have a feeling that those public employees that have been cut and those who will be cut from county and city payrolls may not be inclined to entirely blame wall street and financial institutions for why they lost their jobs….just a hunch.

    I presume you still have your job and pension…

    Then that’s good enough for government work….as the old saying goes….

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  8. GAJ says:

    You don’t like my links that describe a National problem, as well as a problem in California, (never mind the problems in Europe on this very same issue), so what does the Legislative Analyst say?

    “Unfunded liabilities for government employee pensions are conservatively pegged by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office at $136 billion. The Legislative Analyst acknowledges, however, in its current fiscal outlook report that the estimate leaves out billions in funding shortfalls at the pension funds for public school teachers and University of California employees.”


    And please explain why last year CalPers demanded an $600 million increase in taxpayer contributions?

    The problem is getting worse is my take, not better.

    But, hey, I hope the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst, and numerous other sources, are completely wrong, and you are right, as the dithering continues.

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  9. John says:

    GAJ – So your response about to the links about faulty reports is a supposed news article quoting those faluty reports.
    Strong Work!

    Steven – There is a economic “crisis” which is very different from a “Pension Crisis” Pension costs are less than 3% of state budgets as my previous links point out. The financial meltdown was in absolutely no way derived from or related to pension costs. It has been extremely well documented that wall street and financial institutions were at the heart of the Financial problems we are currently facing. It is very unfortunate that working people have had to pay and suffer due to corporate greed. But again, it was the same people who are pushing this rhetoric about pensions that caused this mess.

    As far as the PERS rate, even with these market downturns their historic long term performance has been over the current projected rate. It’s pretty safe to assume that they will continue to outperform the sceptics desired rates.

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  10. GAJ says:

    A Republican “operative”?

    Ha ha ha ha.

    That’s a good one.

    The “don’t worry” people who look at the “road ahead” by using the rear view mirror are, thankfully, the minority.

    The rest of us are looking out the windshield and that light ahead is not, I repeat not, the end of the tunnel.

    Here’s some far “right wing” links for you that shows that, thankfully, even NPR and the Huffington Post recognize the dangers ahead for the Nation as a whole…and opine that the dire predictions are actually not showing the true size of the problem.

    The rest of you can put your heads back in the sand and pretend this growing national problem does not exist.



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  11. Stephen Radeljic says:

    @ John

    You never responded to my post in the other thread. So I’ll see if I can get a response here….

    When the county announces layoffs in a few months, how many laid off folks with families and bills to pay will it take for this to be a pension crisis? 200, 300, 400, 500….you’ll let us know the actual amount, won’t you?

    Or as long as you have your job still,

    your quote:

    “As you folks know PERS rate is 7.75% long term forcast (long term being 30 years)(actual annual return is currently in the double digits)”

    “There is no ‘CRISIS’, just polititians falsly (imagine that) wipping up bad public sentiment. Taking advantage of a poor economy to forward their anti-labor agenda.”

    I think I get it now, in the long term, the investments in the retirement fund will come through. Layoffs of other public employees will cover the problems in the short term.

    Union solidarity saves the day!

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  12. John says:

    GAJ likes links so here’s another VERY TELLING link about the “Little Hoover Commission” report on pensions.


    Not a war on working people? Really? It ABSOLUTELY IS!

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  13. John says:

    @ GAJ – How can you demand that “Native Californian” provide a link showing percent of budget (You said PERCENT) then use a absolute number knowing that the lei-person reading will be shocked. Practice what you preach, go to the CalPERS site, and give the percentage of total budget that is paid into PERS. I know it’s not as sensational as your number but it is TRUTH. Obviously you know the site because you used it to try to support your arguement. While you’re in there look at their comments about the inaccuracies of both the “Little Hoover” report and the “Stanford” report.

    You post those FACTS and I might give you a little creedence that you’re not a Republican operative.

    Here’s the link to make it easy for you.




    And the % of budget link:

    Many other Myths are covered in the Myth vs Fact site at CalPERSresponds.com

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  14. bear says:

    Some random comments.

    Petty nice salaries in the private sector. Do they include annual bonuses?

    An “administrative secretary” in the public sector is the highest level of clerical jobs, usually a private secretary to a department head or elected officials (EOs). Not someone standing at a copy machine.

    A “Community Outreach Officer” is generally someone who works for the police, children’s services or health services to prevent crime, child abuse and disease. Not an easy job at all. Usually required multiple degrees.

    Most public employees don’t last 30 years (especially police and fire), so don’t get anywhere near 100% of their final salary. Many are forced into retirement by line-of-duty injuries, other health problems, layoffs or the stress of dealing with the public.

    The “problem public” is ably represented by the comments in this thread. I’ve been screamed at, called a communist AND a facist, and could not say a word back beyond “can I help you” or “should I call the police?”

    I retired after more than 20 years on about 1/3 my highest salary and will soon be paying $830+ a month for health insurance for self and wife. That’s about 1/3 of my basic pension and more than my mortgage. And I had to move out of state because of Sonoma’s high cost of living, which means you lost both my spending AND my taxes.

    I did love Sonoma County, and most citizens. I tried to solve problems, not create them.

    I find this concept that public employee unions wield so much influence that they dictate terms of their pay and benefits to EOs to be LAUGHABLE! Do you really think public employee unions outcontribute the building industry, the gravel industry and other Chamber of Commerce types?!

    Do you not realize that elected officials are at the top of the government food chain? So it goes like this: the EOs determine what THEY want in salary and benefits, then pretty much have to maintain the balance of pay/benefits to management and workers. The exact reverse of what some of you are saying.

    And there are NO education, or experience or mental stability requirements for being an elected official. Lots of fun dealing with some marginal personalities that won’t go away. Maybe we should start there, and then discuss campaign finance reform, rather than union-busting.

    Seems like a month or so ago the P-D ran a fact-based article on public sector pay and benefits vs. private sector. Maybe they should update it and run it again. You could read it this time?

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  15. GAJ says:

    Well, Native Californian, I wish you luck retiring at 100% using your own smarts and money.

    I retired at 52, but I certainly didn’t need to retire at 100% of my best years’ salary as I’ve lived within my means since starting my IRA at age 21.

    Getting my MBA at night while working full time during the day paid off in the end.

    You need to provide a link for your “facts” regarding government employee pensions as a % of the budget…including what they were 15 years ago.

    Here’s part of an article from the Calpers website from June of last year. The increase is far from pocket change in my view:

    “The CalPERS Board of Administration today gave final approval to a proposal that requires the State of California to pay $3.9 billion for State employee pensions in the new fiscal year that begins July 1, 2010.

    The State contribution is projected by CalPERS staff to be approximately $600 million more than the State contribution of $3.3 billion in the current fiscal year.”


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  16. Native Californian says:

    Sine pension costs are 7% of the budget and welfare is over 50% of the budget, no, I don’t think pension costs are nothing more than a smoke screen. You said it yourself, you don’t like the fact they can retire at 100%… My financial planner has been working with me to achieve that goal. Everyone should. Yes, taxpayers can afford it. And you will.

    All because Brown is governor, again, doesn’t make any more right than the first time.

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  17. GAJ says:

    Well, Native Californian, if you don’t think $55,000 secretaries and $100,000 Police Dispatchers, who can retire at 60, if not sooner,with nearly the same pay and bennies as when they were working aren’t a problem, because the salaries are so “puny,” then we really have nothing more to discuss.

    Even Jerry Brown admits such things MUST change at the State level to reign in out of control deficits.

    But I guess you’d disagree with him also.

    From March 31st of this year:

    “Gov. Jerry Brown today issued a 12-point pension reform agenda his office says he will introduce in the Legislature “with or without Republican support.”

    The first seven items seek to end abuses or tighten pension funding rules. The last five involve more systemic changes and are listed as “under development.” We have a call in to the governor’s office to find out what that means.

    Brown released the details two days after talks broke down with Republican lawmakers over the state budget deficit. The GOP was seeking pension changes, among other things, in exchange for votes to place tax increase extensions before voters.”

    Read more: http://blogs.sacbee.com/the_state_worker/2011/03/brown-issues-pension-reform-pl.html#ixzz1J3GpJhRi

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  18. Native Californian says:

    And YES, California is a train wreck due to politicians spending money on pet projects, giveaways and unqualified entitlement receipiants. There’s your pork.

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  19. Native Californian says:

    This thread is comical. I am picturing people on laptops, under bridges, bootlegging their internet from a near by home.

    Overpaid with those puny salaries? What do you others make, $7.50 and hour? If you make less than those salaries you really need some assistance. I have never paid an engineer in any category less than $125k… He would have been snatched away in a heart beat.

    There isn’t much reality here, Just a bunch of poor whinners griping about some middle class public empoyees. Rudeness or inefficiency needs to be addressed in all operations, public or private.

    This would be even more entertaining if it wasn’t so pitiful.

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  20. GreedBreeds says:


    I appreaciate you marking my comment as a rant, its the perfect word to use to discredit my point. But, I disgress, Im not here to make personal attacks, just to open a few minds.
    I am not all-knowing, but smart enough to realize that I cannot rely on markets that serves the interests of those who control it. Now, All they have to do is wave a magic wand and POOF, bye bye investments.
    Im not advocating that we bring down all corporations, just the ones who have near-divine powers due to sell-out deals made by elected officials who kneeled before real corporate interest, which even leaves devoted individuals such as yourself up a creek without a paddle.

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  21. GAJ says:

    GreedBreeds, rather than rant about corporations why not invest in them?

    The Union Pension funds do, and quite frankly, I hope they do darned well with it as the greater their returns the less they will ask you and I to open our wallets to make up for their shortfalls.

    I know my energy stocks have done quite well for my family in the last few months.

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  22. GreedBreeds says:

    Let’s face it people. The party system is a HUGE FRAUD diverting attention from the real problem that grips our counrty, FASCISM. That’s right, it’s always been corporations over people. We have political parties to put a face to blame and something we can direct our anger to in troublesome times. Proof of corporate control is how our country sold out years ago by allowing a PRIVATE bank like the Federal Reserve be in charge of our DEVALUED currency, free of REAL government scrutiny. The Federal Reserve is as federal as the Federal Express (FedEx). Wake up and smell the coffee people! We have nothing.

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  23. Ricardo Sorentino says:


    Naturally, you’re just speaking as another government employee, and only presenting what you want to call ‘facts’. You want some research? Just the other day I went in to pay a license fee for my pet. I was fifth a line, with only one out of three windows open. When it was my turn, the lady behind the counter never said ‘hi’ nor offered any kind of greeting what so ever, other then saying ‘what do you need?’ When I gave her my check and rabies certificate, she processed my license, talking the entire time to another female employee sitting next to her. She never said another word to me until she completed the process, and then said ‘there you go’. She never said ‘thank you’, or ‘have a good day’ and never interrupted her conversation with her fellow employee.

    You can call it the way you want to see it; I’ll call it the way it really is. I could give many examples of uncaring employees that only go through the motions until their next break, lunch time, or quitting time, that have no problem chatting with another employee about what they did last weekend. While that doesn’t mean every government employee is so indifferent, it’s all too common, and I can tell you that I have NEVER, EVER had anyone from a government agency contact me regarding how I felt about their customer service.

    As far as your remark ‘I don’t understand why people just make things up out of their heads. What happened to real research?’ I don’t need to make things up in my head or do any research: I know first hand how indifferently both my wife typically get treated in a government office.

    Oh, let me guess, my experiences are at odds with every one else, right? Then why all the jokes about DMV, paying a utility bill, going through the home or business permit process, etc.

    Two words for you, MOCKINGBIRD: Get real.

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  24. FedUp says:

    @John – My “unconstrained” comment was exactly correct as it was directed at union demands, not government budgets.

    Sorry you’re offended but I implied neither. The fact of the matter is that your labor is paid for by taxes apportioned from the labor of others. The contribution _your_ taxes make to _your_ salary is negligible.

    Incompetent? You bet – I’ve been to the DMV and the building department. I’ve seen the work product of the road crews, county sups and the planning commission. Oh that reminds me, I forgot rude, arrogant and belligerent. Overpaid? You bet, based on salary + benefits that far exceed those for similar work in the private sector

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  25. GAJ says:

    John, here are average pay for some very important private sector positions in the State of California:

    Sr. Software Engineer / Developer / Programmer $102,328

    Software Engineer $78,227
    Attorney / Lawyer $89,669
    Executive Assistant $51,135
    Project Manager, Construction $81,368
    Mechanical Engineer $65,709
    Operations Manager $62,784


    I went to the link the PD kindly provides on Government Employee pay, and didn’t even bother with cops or firefighters, but went to Santa Rosa ark and Rec to see, oh, what a Secretary and other admin positions make compared to the professionals above.

    Admin Services Officer, (whatever that is)? $99,000 in pay alone (pension 3% at 60).

    Administrative Secretary? The average is about $55,000 in pay alone (3% at 60).

    Deputy Director? $126,000 (3% at 60)

    Community Outreach Specialist? $64,000 (3% at 60)

    Facilities Crew Supervisor? $77,000 (3% at 60)

    Facilities Maintenance Coordinator? $100,000 (3% at 60)

    Other departments make these over the top salaries look like chump change.

    But perhaps you think a Santa Rosa Park and Rec Community Outreach Specialist should, of course, make as much pay as an Operations Manager or Mechanical Engineer in the private sector.

    Obviously if we started talking about those positions in terms of Pensions or Medical, it wouldn’t even be close.

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  26. Michael Sheehan says:

    What’s especially sad for all native-born Californians is that the liberal looney fringe and their allies are destroying our state day by day, hour by hour, and most voters either don’t care or are blind to reality.

    The people elected both locally and statewide are simply atrocious – clowns such as Woolsey. Boxer and Pelosi. These are true enemies of the people, enemies of the constitution and enemies of common sense.

    So, sure, let’s have a vote. But no matter how much money taxpayers are forced to give to Sacramento, it will never be enough due to waste, fraud and corruption.

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  27. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    To Ricardo Sorentino-wrong. I work for the public and we do surveys of our clients. We are always trying to improve our service even with the layoffs we have had. Most public employees do care to do a good job for the public. I know that for a fact.

    I don’t understand why people just make things up out of their heads. What happened to real research?

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  28. John says:

    @ Fed up – You are correct that they are two different animals but that is because government produces no products to sell. Only service.

    Your ‘unconstrained’ comment is inaccurate. There are limits to government budgets as tax revenues rise and fall with the economy.

    I am offended that you believe that I either don’t pay taxes or that my job involves no labor. I’m not sure how to interpret your segregation. Who are the “others” you speak of? Do public employees taxes not get counted in your accounting? I would bet that the millions of government workers nationwide would strongly disagree with you. We pay taxes JUST LIKE YOU! My property tax is in the same state as you, my income tax, my sales tax, my fuel tax, car registration, etc… all in the same state as you. I recieve no tax discounts for being a public employee so stop treating me like i’m just a taker. I pay my share. Probably more than you as I don’t have much in deductions.

    Incompetent? Do you really want to stereotype like that. I know you haven’t met me or the people I work with. Overpaid? Based on what? Your opinion? Well, you’re entitled but that doesn’t make it a true fact.

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  29. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    On a previous post in this thread, I misspoke regarding ‘Assembly panel rejects bills on illegal immigrants’.

    I had too many open articles and when I posted my remarks, I stated that this was at a federal level. In fact, not surprisingly, it’s right here in California.

    -Assembly Bill 1018, which would require state and local officials to verify the immigration status of a person requesting any public service. It was opposed by immigrant rights groups and labor unions.

    Of course, ‘Assembly Bill 1018, which would require state and local officials to verify the immigration status of a person requesting any public service.’ would absolutely be stuck down here in California, home of illegal immigrant entitlements and bankrupt government. And ‘It was opposed by immigrant rights groups and labor unions.’ Of course it was…

    Only in California could we not take ANY action regarding illegal immigrant entitlement fraud, but ask for more tax increases to cover those entitlements, all the while using ‘education’ as leverage.


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  30. John says:

    @ GAJ – Don’t act like you didn’t know that when you talk Pensions & PERS that it’s BOTH State & Local. You’re not stupid. There has not been one word of distinction when ‘reformers’ shout their rhetoric.

    What % of public employees have “obscene” pay and benefits vs the private sector? I’d like to hear what you think. Or is it easier to make it sound like ALL public employees by using yet another blanket statement.

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  31. FedUp says:

    @John – You conflate public employee unions with unions in general. They are two different animals.
    When a union bargains collectively with a private employer, they are bargaining for a fair share of the profits generated by their labor. They are constrained in their demands by the realization that in order to remain employed, the business must remain competitive.
    On the other hand, public employee unions bargain with the politician they elected, not for a share of the profits generated by their labor but for a share of the tax dollars generated by the labor of others. And they are unconstrained in their demands since the government they work for has no competition to worry about. The result is as inevitable as the sunrise – every expanding government staffed by over-paid incompetents who can’t be fired.

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  32. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    RE: anderson – “After all, just how many of these school children Golis frets about have illegal immigrant parents who suck up precious resources from citizen taxpayers?”

    While this is at the federal level, I’m sure our liberals in Sacramento would vote the exact same way. Read this story:

    Assembly panel kills two anti-illegal immigration bills –

    “…On a party line vote, the panel also killed Assembly Bill 1018, which would require state and local officials to verify the immigration status of any person who requests any public service. It was opposed by immigrant rights groups and labor unions.”


    And we wonder why all government is bankrupt…

    It’s a shame that all the budget issues are being directed at education cuts. I think that was on purpose, as a leverage tool to get additional taxes on board, when cuts really should be more directed to entitlement programs.

    RE: MOCKINGBIRD – “You get what you pay for.”

    Or not; just why do you think the general public is coming down on public employees, their pay and benefits? Maybe they’re not seeing the value of their tax dollars with the quality, or lack there of, of the service we typically get.

    One thing you will NEVER see with government employees is a follow-up survey, asking how helpful and satisfied you were with their service. No way would any union every allow that to happen; to them, it’s about employee protections, not customer service. It’s about getting more and more tax dollars to bloat the department and more employee benefits, not about improving efficiency and down-sizing departments in relation to current budgets.

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  33. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Answer to John G. Maybe you can’t get service because there have been so many employees at the state, city, and county laid off that the ones left are doing the jobs of 3 people. You want worse service? Then let’s lay off more public employees. You get what you pay for. If you are unwilling to pay for services then you lose everytime.

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  34. GAJ says:

    John, if I’m not mistaken the column was about State issues, not City issues, even though they both would benefit from Pension Reform and cuts to bloated government.

    The bottom line in ALL these issues is that we need to fix the fiscal mess now, which means major sacrifice, no matter how you slice it.

    We cannot hand this mess to our children and grandchildren, at the State, City or Federal level.

    This “egg in a snake” that will be a generation of government employees with obscene pay and benefits, (both while working and while retired), when compared to the generations that worked equally hard in the past, and in the future, will be just one of the marks of shame of our our greedy Baby Boom Generation. The “me” generation indeed.

    Obscene CEO pay and bennies would be another mark of shame, however, the Unions, who howl the loudest about this also have far more power than the rest of us to do something about it.


    Because the corporations they scream and yell about are where they have billions upon billions of pension money invested. They actually are in a perfect place to demand reform in pay for high level corporate executives. But they don’t. You’d have to ask yourself why?

    Shoot, now I got off track as well! :)

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  35. John says:

    @ common sense – You are absolutely correct that both parties mislead and deceive the people and for different reasons. (like the subtle but influential name change from Democrat to Democratic Party.) This subject happens to be the Republicans led by the Tea Party. It also happens to be a major attack on UNIONS which keep balance with corporations (who tend to support republicans)
    Unions fight for the benefits of their members (working people)while corporations fight for the benefits of themselves and their stockholders (also people but tend to be wealthier). If you can say (generally) Democrats are bought by Labor then you must equally say that Republicans are bought (probably more total $) by corporations and the very wealthy.

    One thing not mentioned in this whole arguement against pensions is that PERS is the multi-billion dollar board member that calls BS on corporations when they start goofing around with their numbers. Corporations don’t like that so they would love for wall street to control that money instead of PERS.

    @ reality check (nice name) – I am referring to property tax which when the city considers incorporating an area is what they use to figure increased revenue to cover additional services provide. Sales tax fluctuates and you can directly control the amount of sales tax You pay. BTW-I voted against the sales tax increase. Sorry you think that 2.7 cents per dollar (27% of 10%)sales tax is ripping you off. Good job trying to inflate & deceive with your numbers. I hope that someday when you call us And we come running that you will have a change of heart. Of course, assuming we’re still here.

    Not a big fan of M. Moore but this is interesting.


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  36. anderson says:

    The left-wing Democrats need no help from anyone in wrecking California. They have been wildly successful in trying to turn this once great beacon of freedom, entrepreneurship and prosperity into a third-world welfare state all by themselves. After all, just how many of these schoolchildren Golis frets about have illegal immigrant parents who suck up precious resources from citizen taxpayers?

    Pete and the out-of-touch lefties who routinely write here should play more golf and leave serious matters to the adults.

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  37. Reality Check says:

    //Cities get around 13 cents per dollar back.//

    Of what? Sales taxes, property taxes, all taxes? It’s hard to know what you mean without a clearer description of what you’re talking about.

    Of sales taxes, local govts get 1% of the base state rate of 8.25%, or 12% of the total. But Santa Rosa and the region has added on another 1.25%, which brings local govts total to 27%.

    As to “. . your local municipality is NOT ripping you off!,” well, we’re all entitled to our opinion. But you offered no rationale in support of yours.

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  38. Common Sense says:

    @ Cognitive Dissonance
    I was simply pointing out important ommissions, whether intentional or not, that were not included in your response to Chris, Fed up, et al and that the hold out Republicans had indeed offered to include it on a June ballot, if other issues were also included.
    I originally come from a initiative free state and I don’t believe they are effective or work out all that well from what I can tell in the 15 years I’ve lived here. They appear to generally create more issues then they solve on hot topics like taxes and/or gay marriage. I think the legislators should actually do what they are paid to do, and stop passing the buck.
    Your point is actually a good one, until you decide to again accuse only the Republican Machine, of something both parties obviously do, that is afterall their function as a political party, to persuade and motivate people to their position, which by nature requires them all to puff.

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  39. John says:

    Do any of you know how your tax dollar is spent? I doubt most of you do.

    You claim to do all this research, well, look it up and get back to us on the distribution. Cities get around 13 cents per dollar back. Now break that down per department and all the things cities are responsible for providing. How much of your dollar really goes to each department? Then how much of that is for compensation vs cost of operations? Then of that how much goes to pensions? I can’t speak for the state but your local municipality is NOT ripping you off!

    You’ll be shocked that the Republican machine has been so effective in misleading the people.

    Some of you mention Wisconsin and Indiana as support for your position. Let’s watch and see how their recall elections turn out. I’m curious to see if this last election was as the republicans claim ‘A mandate from the people to cut government’ or is it possible that their wins were a statement against Obama’s health care? We will have to wait and see.

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  40. Cognitive Dissonance says:

    Common Sense: It’s true that an initiative on pension reform isn’t a done deal- but neither is placing the tax extension on the ballot. They both go through the same process to pass- isn’t that what you were asking for? A chance to vote?

    And the listed proponent is former Assembly Member Roger Niello (R-Sacramento).

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  41. Common Sense says:

    @Cognitive Dissonance,
    11-0007 is indeed an initiative that has been submitted to State Attorney General’s office for placement on the ballot. However, that is no promise it will be enacted, as it will require a vote by the People before that can happen (California Constitution, Article II, Section 8(d) and (12)). Assuming that it did pass via the voting process, it would still have to overcome the inevitable legal battles that will come of it, take Proposition 8 for example. So, please don’t put it out there as a done deal, as that is far from the truth. I also note you didn’t go into who sponsored this initiative, always an important factor it seems in this state as to whether one passes or fails, as sponsorship is always linked to funding for ads to pass an initiative. And, actually, the hold out Republicans have held out based on their request for the legislature to directly take up pension reform and deficit issues, so maybe you should do a little research. All I had to do was check out some of the state legislature web pages and a few Democratic and Republican representative’s web pages to confirm that information.
    I would gladly dispute facts with you, if you had actually presented any to dispute, all you presented was the same old name calling rheortic about the “evil empire”. Well my response to that is that this is real life, not star wars (although that was a great movie).

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  42. John G. says:

    Golis is funny. Just his title alone “GOP set to wreck California” I think shows his disconnect. California has been wrecked for a long time. Even during the booming dotcom years we were piling on budget deficits and accumulated a state debt (I forgot, which party has been running this state into the toilet since the 60′s?). He played the typical game calling children, poor, the sick, and the elderly.

    Without singling anyone out, I have been trying to get a permit from various local governments for the past few weeks. A very simple permit that I have the money for in hand, all proper documentation, and the ability to fill out the paperwork. This should theoretically be a very simple process. In Liberalville, nothing could be further from the truth. Nobody in the government knows who is responsible for what, even within the same bureaucracy. They do not answer the phones, return calls, and seem to treat customers like uninvited guests.

    My point is that the only dealings I have done with the government are the aforementioned and the DMV. During both scenarios I am really unimpressed with inefficiencies, incompetence, and the waste. I could not even imagine how crappy of a time those of you who have to deal with government agencies on a daily basis do it.

    Cut them off. Let the tax increases expire. All the tax increases do is give the government more money to waste on crap instead of circulating through our economy supporting real jobs. Besides, over the past two years our economic situation has gotten worse, so question this: How good were the tax increases to begin with?

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  43. Let's Be Realistic says:

    Great article, Pete. What a novel concept you speak about…Democracy! I truly believe that the republican neocons fear democracy. I know they fear educated people willing to debate them with facts. I know they fear the idea of the citizens getting to vote on their own future. To change it up a little, I will say that I also know that they love Corporate Money, the more of it the better. It is sad to see the sheeple out there believing that public sector workers and the unions that represent them are the ones to blame. If you look at who is really spending the money on lobbyists, and who is really placing the legislators in their back pockets, it is the Non-tax paying, tax refund receiving big corporations! The sheeple on the right need to wake up and realize that if they keep pushing their ideological agenda, they will also suffer along with the rest of us non corporation Americans. Also, since when does ANYBODY, republican or democrat, want someone else making a decision for them. We should be shocked and pissed off that the damn obstructionist republicans are denying us our right to vote on something that will have as devastating of an affect on our futures as the lack of revenues enterin our budget. I sign off again with the thought that the most unAmerican thing that can be done is to bash unions because when you bash unions you are bashing America, the biggest Union in the WORLD!

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  44. Mike says:

    @ bear

    I thought you guys went extinct in the 1960′s. Big labor killed the golden goose in the private sector years ago and as a result it ended up where it is today. Alive only in the public sector in a few states where the democrats allow public unions to survive.

    Defense spending kept the Soviet Union at bay and bankrupted it in the end. If anyone hasn’t told you we live in a very dangerous world where lots of despots, terrorists and religious fanatics want to kill us.

    Medicare and Social Security are unsustainable unless benefits and costs are contained. No responsible Republican has called for eliminating either program. It is the democrats who have resisted changes for decades and we now find these programs in serious trouble unless changes are made.

    It was the Carter Administration that lowered the immigration barriers and things haven’t been the same since. The democrats see Mexican immigrants as potential voters so they are unwilling to seal the border with Mexico and the Obama administration is unwilling to enforce the immigration laws on the books. It is not in Republican cities that you find “sanctuary cities.”

    NPR and the NEA should be self funded and not relying on federal funding. They both have a definite political point of view which is fine, but they should not be funded with tax money from people who do not share their views. I am sure you would not want Hannity or Limbaugh to receive federal funding.

    There is no free lunch and a college education is no exception. College tuition has been going up for years under democrats in Sacramento. Why do you think there have been demonstrations and news stories about students who can no longer afford to go to college right here in California. The Republicans didn’t do that, the democrats are running things and have for a long time in Sacramento.

    It is the democrats who want to perpetuate a feudal like state with their minions, the public unions, the poor, and minorities for whom they have built a dependent state. After all, the democrats know what is best for us, don’t they????

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  45. David Oliver says:

    For the GE paid no taxes crowd. Who put their CEO is a cush position” That’s right Mr. Hope and Change. Who did GE support in 08 you guessed it. I say good there won’t be an election to raise taxes. I pay them and I don’t want a non tax paying resident to vote for me to pay more. Talk about obstruction what did the dems do in Wisconsin? They wouldn’t even come to the state house. At least the republicans in CA had the guts to show up and say no.

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  46. David J. Spencer says:

    When existing taxes expire in a short time the matter of concern will be to INCREASE, not EXTEND, taxes. Democrats have already stuck their fingers into the wind & determined that extending taxes has more popular support than increasing taxes; hence, the demonization of the Republicans, but popular support for extending existing taxes is now beginning to wane, and a vote for a tax increase, which would come when existing taxes expire, ain’t gonna happen.

    The People are still going to be able to vote on the issue–it’s just that they’re going to vote against a tax increase, or so the finger in the wind now indicates.

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  47. Steveguy says:

    They close libraries, and cut real services, so the big money ( $150,000 a year plus for useless ‘work’) folks can ‘govern from above’. Get rid of what we like, and keep what we hate.

    Isn’t that a recipe for rebellion ?

    Very well written by Mr. Golis, but has the PD endorsed Noreen Evans ? She is a lame poster girl for the corrupt way that our local legislators are elected. I saw her at the city council meetings, and she was a very poor example, yet she gets elected over and over.

    Go figure.

    The fact that the extremes have taken over through campaign contributions must be addressed by the voters, alas probably too late to avoid economic meltdown. Alas

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  48. Cognitive Dissonance says:

    Chris, Fed Up, et al: How about you do a little research before you buy into the rhetoric. Proposed initiative 11-0007, the “Public Employee Pension Reform Act” is currently being titled and summarized by the Attorney General’s office. After, which should be any day now, it will be circulated and placed on the ballot.

    Holding up the tax extension vote has nothing to do with a vote on pensions.

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  49. bear says:

    Republicans only want a few things:

    1. No debate, no compromise.
    2. Minimal education leading to less taxes for schools and dumb voters.
    3. Tax breaks for the rich, and death of the middle class.
    4. Endless war against someone or something that can be labelled “evil.”
    Want to debate who allowed 9/11 despite warnings? Hey, two defending planes in the air?
    5. Massive profits and minimal taxes on defense industries, oil industries or other corporate powers, and private war “contractors” who kill in our name.
    5. Death of unions while unleashing corporate money.
    6. Trillions of dollars on defense spending, tsx cuts for the rich and unwinnable wars, to create manufactured deficits.
    7. Death of Social Security, Medicare and any health care for the poor.
    8. Unlimited illegal immigration to create a cheap labor pool and lower the standard of living for most Americans.
    9. Unlimited opportunities for corporations to offshore “living wage” jobs and evade taxes for offshore corporate profits. Ask GE.
    10. Policies that raise the price of a college education so that the “lower classes” can’t afford it.
    11. Kill National Public Radio and TV and the National Endowment for the Arts because they take up less than 0.1% of the federal budget.

    They will advocate all these things with a straight face and deny all responsibility for the results.

    Then demand the next steps towards the US becoming a third world economy – and what amounts to a Middle Ages lifestyle.

    Can I hear some intelligent denials?

    Bring me facts.

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  50. Mike says:

    Look Gollis, the voters have been told time and again drastic cuts are coming. City hall and the DMV will be closed during the week and school days are going to be cut.

    Well, it happened and the world did not end. Life goes on pretty much as it use to with inefficient government muddling through and disgrunted employees manning the service counters just as before.

    The big majority party in California just want a chance to ask the voters to raise their taxes. The little minority party says fine, but cut the public pensions. Brown and the majority party will not do this because they are owned and operated by the majority party and have been for years.

    What to do? The big party needs to get serious and make the spending and employee cuts to get the budget under control. There is not a revenue problem, there is a spending problem which needs to be slashed as any parent knows when the kids overspend their allowance and want more.

    Time for new thinking in the media and in Sacramento.

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  51. Lets be Reasonable says:

    I pay a lot of taxes (More than GE, apparently…), and I would like to vote on whether it should stays the same, or get cut. Having a small minority block this vote is wrong, plain and simple.

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  52. Josh Stevens says:

    @ Chris

    Thank you! Great point.

    @ TheObserver

    Hilarious,as always.

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  53. Chris says:

    It is very simple, allow a vote on public pensions and we will give a vote on tax extensions.

    Golis, next time try digging deeper than a puddle.

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  54. John T says:

    There’s plenty of blame to go around, but the final responsibility lies with those who kept these folks in office year after year – the voters! Noreen Evans is a prime example. She was a huge failure as a member of the Assembly budget committee, but she had no problem becoming a state senator.

    Pete, if we have to vote on any serious issue anyway, why not abolish the Assembly and Senate in Sacramento?

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  55. FedUp says:

    Gee Pete. In case you hadn’t noticed, the majority of voters don’t pay taxes and so think it’s just a peachy idea to raise the taxes of those who do. And please, enough already with the education sob stories. The teacher’s union has been riding that pony for years and the voters have been stupid enough to conflate increased education spending with improved educational outcomes when the reality is that all it has improved is the teacher’s take home pay. The ride’s over.

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  56. BigDogatPlay says:

    Let’s get a couple of things straight….

    - The only thing Democrats in the Legislature have “cut” is the amount of growth in the budget. You pass a budget with only three percent growth instead of five and label that as a cut… that is what the Democrat majority, with the concurrence of a Republican or two has been doing. As such the underlying budget itself is actually never cut, but rather continues to grow. Don’t believe me? Go do some research on the past few years budgets at the Controller’s office.

    - Governor Schwarzenegger, with the aid and abettance (or prompting) of the Democrats in the Legislature, put 50,000 new state employees on the payroll in his seven years on the job. That was above and beyond the 36,000 new headcount that Gray Davis put on in his four + years. Again…. someone here explain to me how those are cuts?

    In fact, public employment as a whole has increased in California up until just the past few months.

    Unless or until more Californians really feel the pinch of the state’s hand in their wallets and are willing to do a few minutes worth of research rather than letting a self serving piece of propaganda disguised as an op / ed (ahem, Mr. Golis) direct their thinking, the state is doomed to eventual collapse.

    Those lost completely in their dogma, be it left or right (ahem, Mr. Golis) are little better off than those who willingly drank the Kool-Aid that sealed their fate. They are lost to the argument as they aren’t interested in solutions, but only in dogma.

    The solutions, at least the ones that will really work, are going to be hard and painful and I doubt seriously that 95% of Californians are truly informed enough on the issues to understand it. Let alone force the Legislature to implement them.

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  57. Common Sense says:

    Do a little research Mr. Golis, into the actual facts and details of the all the meetings both behind closed doors and open that have taken place with the democrats and republicans in the state legislature and Gov. Brown, all the proposed deals and ideas. Then form an opinion. I am so sick of both sides automatically going to the blame and name calling. It shows a real immaturity and lack of critical thinking and it’s no opinion I would take seriously or give thought to. We’ve overspent on entitlement programs and duplicate agencies and so in so many other ways, so whether you are a republican, a democrat and a fail to state, it doesn’t matter much, as we will all share the pain that will come, there is no longer another option.

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  58. Reality Check says:

    I thought Republicans offered a fair bargain: a vote on taxes in exchange for a vote on public pensions and spending reforms. No?

    If it’s too much to expect Democrats to forsake their political base, why should Republican’s be expected to abandon theirs?

    We just saw in two states (Wisconsin and Indiana) super majority quorum requirements enable a minority of Democrats to deny votes on issues a majority supported.

    The double standard here is palpable.

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  59. John says:

    It’s definately a power struggle. The Republican UNION is banding together to capitalize on a bad economy.

    All of the discussion blaming public (government) employees Totally Ignores the facts that 2/3 of corporations (who fund republicans) don’t pay ANY Federal income tax, that total welfare spending was over %50 of the budget, etc…

    But the rich make the rules so they get richer and the middle class goes away.

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  60. TheObserver says:

    This is a good piece and thank you for writing it.

    I believe Republicans want government at all levels to collapse and be destroyed so they can rebuild it as an “inexpensive” organization with no public services that obeys corporate masters.

    The arch-conservative author Ayn Rand believed government has only two purposes: to create a powerful standing military and to have a court system to settle disputes between citizens.

    To this brutal Russian thinker, all the social services that give help to the unproductive need to vanish. Let children and the elderly work if they want to participate in capitalist society. Otherwise, let them fall through the cracks and die.

    Republican’s and especially tea partiers and neo-cons are the spiritual children of Ayn Rand.

    Maybe all levels of government in the U.S. will collapse. Then what? I’ll tell you…marshal law followed by a corporatocracy in which business calls all the shots (they already do, but I mean out in the open).

    If that’s the world the majority wants to live in, I pity those who are unproductive. They will suffer greatly.

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  61. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    The Democrats have been cutting and cutting over the last years since 2008. You all out there depend on services. Many of those services are going away.

    Libraries are closing. I can’t believe it! Libraries are a sacred institution in this country. Education should be valued and with today’s Republicans, stupidity among the masses (and among Republicans) is valued instead of education, critical thinking and problem solving skills. It’s called the dumbing down of America. People voting on candidates who could care less about the health and welfare of the American people. Because of the budget education will get huge cuts on top of huge cuts already made. So California will continue to be near the bottom of all the states (around 47th) in quality of education. So you Republicans out there with children or grandchildren in public chool-can you afford to send your children to private school? Aren’t you at least a little alarmed that your children are being dumbed down by low quality education?

    People need jobs. Jobs are the only way to keep this country strong. Laying off people, whether private or public only depresses the economy further. AND THAT’S A FACT.

    Now, more than ever people need services. And yet the Democrats cut these services to pacify the Republicans in a show of compromise. And what do we get from the Republicans in return (who are being coached by out of state Republicans like Grover Norquist)? More obstruction. They DIDN’T EVEN HAVE THE GUTS TO VOTE ON THE CUTS THEY INSISTED ON. They are cowards.

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  62. Skippy says:

    I recently glanced at the list of hundreds of State agencies, boards, bureaus, commissions and committees currently being paid for by the few taxpayers in California who still have jobs.
    But as Pete reiterates, only schools, police and fire services can be slashed when budget crunchtime occurs.
    Time to be perfectly honest and unmistakeably clear; there are millions of overtaxed and under-represented Californians who want calamitous and devastating cuts to be made now and forevermore.
    We don’t want to sustain services, we want them slashed.
    We want entire departments eliminated.
    We want the State to permanently halt doing most of what it does.
    What Republicans are doing is toughlove. We will not give handout-addicted Californians the chance to spend any more of their grandchildren’s money.
    Pete, you are completely missing the point. Again.

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  63. David says:

    Why do you insist on giving these fools more money to waste? Until the Democrats feet are held to the fire, they will never learn to live within their means. Raise the taxes some more so people will have less money to buy goods and the recovery will never happen. I don’t understand why liberals don’t just give some of their unneeded money to the State if they feel that it will fix things. You want to give them more then do it, just don’t ask me to keep enabling the addicts.

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  64. GAJ says:

    While I think the vote should be allowed to go forward, as do about 1/2 the populace according to the most recent poll, the intransigence of the Republicans is entirely understandable given the current dire financial situation. Why continue to give more money to an addict?

    It is the main purpose of the Democrat led majority in the legislature to get re elected, not run a fiscally sound State.

    Even Democrats are finally disgusted with the giveaways it would seem:

    “The new poll also asked voters about public employee pensions and found that:

    * 56% of likely voters said the amount that state and local governments spend on public worker pensions is a big problem; and

    * 57% of likely voters said the state should reduce public workers’ pensions to help balance the budget.”

    Read more: http://www.californiahealthline.org/articles/2011/3/24/poll-public-support-waning-for-browns-tax-extension-proposal.aspx#ixzz1IZyYQQbk

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