Skip to comments.Deep Cuts Could Reshape California
Posted on 05/30/2009 5:38:02 PM PDT by Steelfish
Deep Cuts Could Reshape California
By JENNIFER STEINHAUER May 30, 2009
LOS ANGELES Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger did not get the election results he sought. Now he seems determined to show California voters the consequences.
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press
In a special election on May 19, voters rejected a batch of measures on increasing taxes, borrowing funds and reapportioning state money that were designed to close a multibillion-dollar budget gap.
The cuts Mr. Schwarzenegger has proposed to make up the difference, if enacted by the Legislature, would turn California into a place that in some ways would be unrecognizable in modern America: poor children would have no health insurance, prisoners would be released by the thousands and state parks would be closed.
Nearly all of the billions of dollars in cuts the administration has proposed would affect programs for poor Californians, although prisons and schools would take hits, as well.
Government doesnt provide services to rich people, Mike Genest, the states finance director, said on a conference call with reporters on Friday. It doesnt even really provide services to the middle class. He added: You have to cut where the money is.
In less than two weeks, the administration has gone from warning residents that a vote against the budget measures would send the state some $24 billion in the red into utter turmoil to sanguine acceptance that the people have spoken and that the government must move on.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Ah yes, greenie stuff and embryonic stem cell research - they’d go under the heading of “Over-rated scams of interest mainly to those getting lots of government funding in return for political contributions to those giving the funding” - they should go to the top of the “Out of Here” list.......
Then everything that runs on that money will just have to make do and let the cards fall where they have to.
Too simplistic I suppose.
I work in the private sector and I got laid off 2 weeks ago with 18 years with the company.
People will vote smarter next time.
Oh, that's what the politicians are afraid of!
The protected groups-police, fire, and prison unions won’t accept this.
Yeah, I know they vote.
I wonder what would Reagan would do?
If/when the states/cities actually declare bankruptcy, can we modify the pension plans of existing retire'es like they (judges/arbitrators ?) do to the normal retired folks with pensions who were employed by private firms in bankruptcy?
How about cutting the gold plated retirements of public employees? In what other industry do you get to retire after 20 years and collect your full salary for life? It's not sustainable.
I just sniffed around for that blood in the post above yours. Normal firms break contracts through bankruptcy, can a referendum declare a state bankrupt? Sharks circling.
I haven't even heard them mentioned yet in all this talk of "cuts"....
Make some real cuts, your proposals are just nibbeling around the edges!!!
Eliminate 90% of the commissions, fire 50% or more of the State workers, cut the rest of the workers pay by 30% or more, remove the excessive taxes on oil and open up all offshore drilling, and cut school funding for starters.
So Texans will be running Del Norte then?...
(no, that’s not sarcasm)
Done already. State workers are currently taking a 10% paycut by being furloughed 2 days per month. The legislature is going to add a straight 5% pay cut to that. This will save a total of $2.65 Billion. Against a deficit of $24 Billion. You are 10% of the way there.
$2.7 Billion down and 21.3 Billion to go. Any more ideas?
It is funny how many people’s first thought is that cutting pay to state workers would save some massive portion of the $140 Billion annual budget. My first thought is cutting services to illegal aliens would save over $10 Billion.
“It is pure manipulation by threatening the 2/3 federal subsidy on child healthcare, and closing all state parks.”
I hope i’ts not manipulation, I hope it’s the first thing to happen.
Health care isn’t a right and I object to paying for someone elses!
Eliminate State parks and open them to loging and mining!
And people blame Schwarzennegger. The sad fact is, the idiot liberal democrat voters are 100% to blame for this for re-electing their entrenched communist legislators decade after decade. Arnold has actually tried to make the Legislature become more responsible, he got spanked and he wasn’t tough enough to keep fighting. But he did try. Your post is dead on. It is the communist legislature that is spending us into ruin.
Here in Erie county NY they threatened to close the parks if the budget wasn't passed. It didn't. They did. Neighbours cut the locks off the maintenance sheds mowed the grass themselves and locked the sheds back up. The parks were soon opened again.
She asked....Why doesn't the state charge for us to be there?
Answer...You're federal taxes do. (She was already indoctrinated, a school teacher no less)
She's from San Diego
May or may not have been me, but I’ll recap.
There are 268,000 State workers.
Assume average annual salary of $100,000 (which is preposterous)
Assume annual benefits are another $100,000 (FAR more preposterous)
270,000 x $200,000 = $54 Billion.
So if you fired every single State worker, you would still have an annual budget of $86 Billion, ($140 billion - $54 billion) only add back in the salaries of all of the private sector consultants to do the work, PLUS their bonuses, which government workers don’t get. And this is assuming the preposterous, that every government Janitor and librarian and secretary bulls down $200,000 in salary and benefits. Wildly preposterous. The total is probably closer to $30 Billion for all California State employees.
Then again, you could privatize the works. Just don’t blame me if someone like Madoff comes along and embezzles a few billion from time to time.
trust funds could end up being managed by a character like Bernie Madoff, who embezzles the money while cooking the books.
I thought I would post some of the cushy government salaries and see how they stack up against that $200,000 average salary & benefits.
I’ll use Caltrans as an example since we are top-heavy in expensive engineering, and sticking with what I know.
We have about 20,000 people, about 10,000 of whom are field maintenance people. They fix guardrail and sand barrels after drunks and racers wreck them, they sweep the streets, pick up dead possums and semi-tire fragments, etc.
Here are the MOST these classes pay after years here, not the average people are getting at this time. Starting pay is much lower in every class, as it should be. Just trying to put some perspective to the absurd $200,000 average salary & benefits I used in my calc.
$35,000 - Cook (Private cooks make up to $33,000, average is $23,000)
$47,000 - Heavy Equipment Operator (Union scale is $62,000)
$42,000 - Accountant (Private accountants make up to $62,000, average is $46,000)
$43,000 - Maintenance worker (Union scale for laborers is 50,000)
$49,000 - Computer Programmer (Private programmers make up to $100,000, average is $75,000)
$49,000 - Drafter (Same for private drafters)
$50,400 - Electrician (Private Electricians make up to $55,000)
$54,000 - Heavy Equipment Mechanic (Private HE Mechanics pay up to $60,000, most are under $51,000)
$55,000 - Structural Steel Painter (Union scale is $62,000)
$56,040 - Right of Way Agent
$74,000 - Computer systems analyst (Private analysts make
$94,000 - Deputy Attorney (Private attorneys top around $120,00, most make $95,000)
$91,000 - Civil Engineer (Private engineers top out at $150,000, most make under $120,000)
$91,000 - Land Surveyor (Private surveyors top out at $66,000, most make under $45,000)
You can see that if you had to replace state workers with private workers, you wouldn’t be saving much money, except for those of you who think we stand around talking all day and those golden private workers NEVER do. Hello, GM. Hello, AIG. Hello, BofA. Hello, watercooler.
All private wages are NATIONAL AVERAGES and you can be damn sure that wages paid to private workers here in costly California are generally higher than those listed above. Sometimes MUCH higher.
All Caltrans wages from here:
Private sector job classifications researched here:
California Union Prevailing Wage rates here:
Or look here:
Just trying to get a handle on that $200,000 salary & benefits and put it in perspective as preposterous.
Note, you don’t see a lot of burger flippers and chamber maids and counter clerks employed by the State of California so JUST MAYBE that is why the wages seem so high compared to all the Walmart workers and Starbucks barristas out there. Most of these jobs are skilled jobs of some kind, as much as people in the private sector don’t seem to understand that. The guy sitting next to me at work has a Masters degree in Structural Engineer and is paid WAY less than he could earn in the private sector. Don’t ask me why he is here. Probably for the security.
Sorry for the long winded defense of government workers, but my 48-year old work-a-holic boss just suffered a stroke because he takes his work way too seriously and is extremely dedicated.
One of my closest friends at work at Caltrans is a work-a-holic who not only puts in 50-60 hours every week, but always takes work home on the weekends. He doesn’t have any fingernails, he bites them so deep to the quick.
This is why I take it personally when people so casually dismiss all government workers as “parasites”. Yep. 20% are. I wish we could fire them all, but 20% could outpeform most of the people in the private sector. I know... all of you can’t possibly believe that so I’ll just let you believe whatever the hell you want to believe. I’ve know way too many engineers who jumped from Caltrans to private and did just fine, earning more money and doing less work. Again, all of you won’t believe that, and that’s fine.
Cuts will change the face of kali, damn, let’s hope so.
" Chonny and Wooty, ai gotda vunny veeling dah Reepublucan Potty tinks
RINOS are pure crapola. Ai hear RINOS kin getz jops ass Val-Mart greetahs,
Home Depot paint mixahs, McD's ketchop pumpahs, undt vaitahs at Ved Lopstah."
Special Nurse: $350,000+
Municipal railway manager: $325,000+
Administrative services department head: $280,000+
State college workers salaries:
JEFF TEDFORD UC BERKELEY HEAD COACH-INTERCOLG ATHLETICS $2,831,654
PHILIP E LEBOIT UC SAN FRANCISCO PROF OF CLIN___-MEDCOMP-A $1,979,362
TIMOTHY H MCCALMONT UC SAN FRANCISCO PROF OF CLIN___-MEDCOMP-A $1,945,717
RONALD W BUSUTTIL UC LOS ANGELES PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $1,570,897
RICHARD J SHEMIN UC LOS ANGELES PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $1,195,837
KHALIL M TABSH UC LOS ANGELES HS CLIN PROF-MEDCOMP-A $1,048,891
BEN BRAUN UC BERKELEY HEAD COACH-INTERCOLG ATHLETICS $998,569
Dan Walters: Big costs loom for state beyond deficit
Sacramento Bee | 5/19/09
FR Posted on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 by SmithL
When the governor and legislators talk about balancing the state budget, they're talking about closing the gap between revenues and required expenditures, either by increasing the former or reducing the latter. The task becomes more difficult by the minute.
Looming on the not-too-distant horizon, however, are some other huge obligations that the current crop of elected officeholders has chosen to ignore, because acknowledging them would make closing the chronic budget gap just that much harder.
There is, for example, a potentially huge increase in the "contribution" that the state must make to the California Public Employees' Retirement System to cover public pensions.
CalPERS has seen its once-immense investment portfolio shrink dramatically, due to recession and some truly boneheaded investments, such as a $1 billion haircut on raw land in Southern California. Big increases in pension benefits, enacted a decade ago, are also a factor.
CalPERS won't tell the state how much its boost will be until sometime next year, but it could be hefty, unless CalPERS postpones the pain by stretching out the bite over several years which would merely postpone the pain. An even bigger headache is a new requirement that state and local governments identify and quantify their obligations for providing health care to their retired employees. The state auditor's office and an advisory commission told the state two years ago that its unfunded liability for health care is $48 billion.
State officials were advised to commit $3.73 billion during the current fiscal year to begin shrinking the unfunded liability, but the state is paying just $1.36 billion to cover its current costs. The Legislature, under the sway of unions, rejected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to overhaul employee health care to save money, but he's trying again, seeking to increase the amount of time it takes...(Excerpt) Read more at sacbee.com ...
Which is why I'm totally against Amnesty.
Government doesnt provide services to rich people, Mike Genest, the states finance director, said on a conference call with reporters on Friday. It doesnt even really provide services to the middle class. He added: You have to cut where the money is.So basically it's the poor who get the free money, the elected officials who get the votes, the tax paying people get the bills. I wonder when Californians will wake up to what illegals actually costs them?
The gutless GOP had a chance to remove the millions of illegals during Bush’s administration. But instead we got Dubya and his stooges pushing amnesty.
I thought that their budget deficit was around 20 billion,(revenue - expendatures.) The problem includes the retirement packages of state employees. What is the budget for retiree's? How about Medical, how much is spent on that...etc? Entitlements will kill you every time.
Well, let's see. . Medi-Cal, SSI State Payment, Childrens services are 14.5 billion, 3.8 billion, 6.2 billion each. HHS total is about 29 billion dollars. Id cut that in half, thats 15 billion. Id venture to say half that money goes to illegals. If they dont like it they can vote it back in.
Bullcrap. You think "the poor" are the ones who called for all those environmental wacko commissions and regulatory agencies and oversight organs and medical /educational bureaucrats whose only visible purpose is to strangle freedom and liberty?
I don't think so.
Did you not even read my post??? I called Salary AND benefits, including medical and retirement benefits, as $200,000 per worker.
I then used my own agency as a model because with all of us engineers, we are probably higher paid than the average state agency like the DMV or EDD. Using my agency, I showed that the average salary is more like $65,000 per person rather than $100,000. Benefits (retirement and medical) probably run about $50,000/person. That adds to $115,000 NOT $200,000. That IS including benefits.
Tax payers are stuck subsidizing a lot of my medical and retirement buy it is not all of it. Not even close. I pay $450/month into retirement, just like a 401(k). PERS invests all of the money all of us government employees pay into their system, and when times were “good”, the state slashed the amount they had to pay out each year toward retirement. You can damn well guess what they did with that money — immediately committing it to new social spending. Then when the economy collapsed, as any fool would tell you it would and the cycle would turn around — suddenly some of the money California used to contribute to retirement isn’t there anymore because it is going to illegals or condoms on cucumbers or something.
My point is simple. Government workers gobble a large but not overwhelming amount of the budget when many people think government employee salaries & benefits are the lions share of the budget. It simply is not true.
Yes, we are massive, bloated, inefficient bureaucracies. Some of the work is unnecessary and the programs and the workers should be cut. Some of the programs are necessary. I design project to build and maintain roads and bridges. If I didn’t do it, a private consultant paid more than I get would have to do it. And you would be paying his annual bonuses as well. Maybe you are paying more with my better benefits and maybe you are paying less. Who knows?
But the alternative would be if you fired every one of us, the private sector would still have to build and maintain roads. They would still have to provide public defenders to defend the poor since that is a Constitutional right. They would still have to keep the water supply clean. Etc, etc.
Not ALL of government is bad. We are massive, entrenched, inefficient bureaucracies that waste boat-loads of money, made even worse by all of the idiotic laws we have to comply with. The private sector would do a better job than we do, I have no doubt. But the price would likely be higher than we cost (although it is possible the much greater efficiency of private could see lower costs), while there is always the possibility of fraud with the private sector. When the private sector gets their hands on big cash infusions of government money, bad things sometimes happen. Power corrupts.
All in all, the tax paying voters need to hold their politicians feet to the fire and scale back taxes and force government agencies to become more efficient and force the politicians to retract these asinine laws that contribute to government agencies being so inefficient. We need to privatize what we can.
Believe me, if road and bridge work was privatized, I would have no problem working for a design consultant and getting an increase in pay, matching 401(k) contributions and annual bonuses. I started my career in 1984 with a degree from UC Davis, and I don’t know too many private Civil Engineers who began at the same time and are struggling in life. Pay and benefits for private engineers seems to be pretty darn good and it is not like private consultants are immune from the asinine programming, procedural and environmental laws that we have to abide by, some Fed and mostly State.
We have the same point. California must cut EVERYWHERE. That means layoffs and reducing pay and benefits for all California government workers, as well as cutting idiotic wasteful programs and scaling back aid to everyone who doesn’t deserve it. If some kid will starve or die, pay the bill. It is time to cut off Grandma Chang who came here last year from China and is collecting SSI and Medical.
I told my colleagues 18 months ago that I was 100% certain of a coming 10% pay cut and thought 20% was not uncalled for or out of the question. I’m taking a 10% pay cut now that is soon going to 15%. I can’t disagree with that. It is needed and beats the hell out of being unemployed. It is not hard for me to see the POV of the taxpayers. I am one. Too many of my union bretheren can’t see it.
California is BROKE. We need to cut EVERYWHERE. The failed tax props are a red herring. They would not have generated new revenue anyway. They just would have caused people to shop less and to earn less as they Galt more and more. The State never would have seen increased revenue.
We need to CUT. CALIFORNIA IS BROKE. This is obvious. CUT EVERYTHING.
Hey, I’m a taxpayer and just as outraged as you are that there are massive abuses in California government — any government for that matter. Even while absolutely true, those three salaries you posted are somewhat cherry picking.
I work for Caltrans. We employ 21,000 government workers. The Director of Caltans who is responsible for 21,000 people and a $5 Billion dollar annual Capital program earns $125,000. He took a 50% paycut when he hired on.No getting $90 million in stock options here. No paying zero in taxes on your $500 million in stock options here.
How many CEOs do you know of with 21,000 employees and $5 Billion in work product that earn $125,000 per year????
I’m not saying he is underpaid. I’m saying your perceptoin is skewed because for every nurse earning 4x what she should be, there are thousands of government workers earning at, below or far below their private sector counterparts.
The waste with government salaries and benefits is just not on the level that you think it is. Far smaller. I listed factual information in my post to try to illustrate that.
I was asking about retirement since those on retirement are not currently employed. Are retirement pensions paid out of a separate pot of gold somewhere, or are they paid out of the annual budget, and how many retirees are drawing out of it?
Also, I was questioning the budget shortfall, isn't it around 20 billion? And what are the costs of other entitlements like medical?
And for another new question why must prisoners be released and firefighters fired, instead of cutting other programs?