Thursday, February 12, 2009

The State of the State

California is in a terrible state right now, at least financially.  Our state has become a joke in this country due to our legislature's unwillingness to work together to pass a budget and stick with it, and this has caused our state to become one of the lowest in the nation in terms of credit worthiness.  

When you find yourself in financial difficulties there are several things that need to be done; first, increase your income; second, spend less and third, spend better.  Let's look at these three areas:

Increase your income: This means raising taxes, which no one likes, but if the taxes are fair, then they're acceptable.  Taxes have been increased on cigarettes, which means that smokers will pay increased taxes, but that same logic must be applied to other areas.  Alcohol, whether consumed at home or at another location, must be taxed as well.  If smokers are paying their fair share then drinkers should as well.

A tax increase has been suggested for golf courses, and this makes sense, but what about baseball fields?  How about bowling alleys?  Perhaps Miniature Golf establishments?  Why should golfers have to pay more and not people taking part in other recreational activities?  Let's make it fair across the board.

Spend less: This makes perfect sense, and I have to agree with the governor when he puts California employees on furloughs and makes them take two days off a month.  This action reduces the amount we spend on salaries, but let's look at other areas as well.  State office buildings need to be climactically controlled to keep the temperature at a fiscal level, which might not be the most comfortable setting for those people working there.  

We also need to look at our programs and see which ones can be cut and would be better funded by the private sector.  Our highways are in a deplorable condition, and they need to be repaired as they keep this state moving.  What money is already in the state budget for things less necessary?  Let's see what can be eliminated and put to better use.

Spend better: This is actually the easiest of the three and yet the most over-looked.  Looking at state employees, we never look for the best candidate for a position, but we look for the best minority, as we feel that we must follow the Equal Opportunity in Employment laws beyond their reasonable interpretation.  This needs to stop.  It's not that we shouldn't hire minorities, but that should not be the main criteria.  In all state employment the number one criteria needs to be education, and we must mandate that all employees of this state must hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree from an American college or university.  Such school must be listed in the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs of the U.S. Department of Education.  This move would ensure that the employees of this state are the best for the position, and not merely minorities.  Note that this move does nothing to impede the EOE laws, as minorities are just as able to achieve degrees as anyone else.

By following these simple suggestions, you will help our state to regain its glory, and to once again proudly be known as The Golden State.