California will run out of cash in March! Our state has officially gone to BELL!
It was reported yesterday that California “needs to scrape together $3.3 billion by March -- assuming the state's financial situation doesn't get any worse.” WARNING: More budget gimmicks coming in next 4 weeks!! The California state government’s general fund was already running a staggering cash deficit of $21 billion on an $88.5 billion budget before this news.
Looks like Democrat Jerry Brown studied City of Bell Robert Rizzo’s accounting gimmicks last year. Or maybe California State Controller Chiang, Democrat, learned additional tricks when he audited the City of Montebello and discovered massive mismanagement with money charged to or borrowed from city accounts. Or, perhaps the entire Democrat controlled legislature learned from the entire indicted City Council in Bell, all Democrats, on how to evade tough choices and not be held accountable for their fiscal mismanagement. For those of us that follow local corruption we know that the Democrats in Bell and Montebello ain’t got nothin’ on Jerry Brown, Controller Chiang, and California Speaker John Perez.
All knew, and Brown and Chiang pretty much admitted, that when this fiscal year began the state revenue forecast was unrealistically high. Governor Brown and California Speaker Perez appear to have designed the budget to HAVE a shortfall mid year so they, and those that finance their campaigns the SEIU & AFL-CIO, could force a budget crisis in hopes of appealing to taxpayers for a tax increase through the referendum process. The alternative was not politically tasteful as it involved making tough choices on public sector pensions, teachers and others salaries, and other entitlements. Brown and state democrats have followed this game plane and are putting forward these tax propositions. They have put off the politically tough choices to reward their patrons and enrich democrat campaigns.
In the meantime, the state is borrowing from many other internal accounts to mask the cash shortfall and delay the inevitable fiscal collapse if voters vote down tax increases. When Chiang audited Montebello he criticized the city saying, "It appears that the city moved money wherever it wanted, whenever it wanted [sic], regardless of . . . the intended purpose of those taxpayer dollars." Yet, this is exactly what Chiang is doing with state budget accounts; placing IOU’s into various accounts and borrowing the money with no documented due date to return it to the accounts that were “the intended purpose of those taxpayer dollars." Chiang also was shocked, shocked I tell you, that there was pension spiking going on in Montebello. In the meantime Chiang, Brown, and Perez allow union pension spiking to continue at the state level with reporters writing on occasion about retirement amounts (and union salaries) that would make your head spin. Patrick McGreevy of the LA Times recently wrote about such abuses here and McGreevy points out that though Brown has supported some changes to pension calculation, they only apply to future workers hired. So I guess California taxpayers can look forward to some cut backs in pension spiking IN 25 YEARS when these new hires retire. In the meantime, it continues.
But over forecasting state revenue is only half the mismanagement. To make matters worse (yes it gets worse), Brown, Chiang, and Perez have over spent beyond what they budgeted by $2.5 billion so far this year. A fiscal train wreck is coming, and I’m not speaking of that California High Speed Rail to nowhere.
Unless Brown, Chiang, and Perez get their act together, California will continue to bleed red ink.
For an honest look at California’s debt crisis and bleak fiscal outlook, view this speech HERE by Meg Whitman last October. Truly a must watch for every tax payer in California.
This post was written by Gwilym McGrew.