Friday, January 2, 2009

It's getting serious

2009! It's finally here...and not soon enough...too bad it couldn't be 2010 already. Nevertheless, it's here and we need to deal with it. I suppose I could start the New Year with some trite list of expectations or, egad, a nebulous list of highlights (or in Bush's case, low lights) from 2008. But again, I digress. Yes, it IS getting serious here in California...

I've already outlined my suggestions, neigh, solutions for ending our fiscal dilemma, for both current AND future budgets. I've heard similar thoughts and opinions...and even heard a few rumors regarding some of my more outlandish suggestions...not that either of my readers would start rumors (i.e. they must be coming from somewhere else).

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing to balance California's $40 billion-plus deficit-laden budget by using revenue increases, spending cuts, and borrowing...and yes, I'll say it again, the TRUE definition of insanity; that is, using the same tried and (un)true stop gap measures and then expecting different results.

My multi-point plan is simple, less painful than Arnold's plan, and definitely more durable and long lasting. Of course, my plan incorporates the "spending cuts," (however NOT without safe guards in place so the cuts might be eliminated at the first sign of future black ink) and "revenue generators" (i.e. relatively pain-free new taxes and moderate increases); HOWEVER, minus the insanity.

Can you think of anything more idiotic that a 1.5 cent sales tax increase? Well, I can. How about a "temporary" 1.5 cent sales tax increase? Why don't we simply disengage our emergency brake...because we certainly won't need one after our economy comes to a screeching halt. Don't believe it? You should. On the other hand, when was the last time a tax was "temporary?"

Anyway, to recap: #1...legalize and tax the hell out of marijuana. Again, don't cry and whimper about the breakdown of society, blah, blah, I've previously's basically legal except we're not receiving the financial know, doctor's notes, traffic tickets (or less) for possession, cannabis clubs sprouting (heh-heh, sprouting, get it?) up all over.

Also, as I've previously mentioned, tax it, tax it, tax it. Between July and October of '08, agents seized millions of marijuana plants in California...with a reported street value of, GET THIS, $15.8 BILLION DOLLARS!! Yes folks, up in smoke...that's wasted tax revenue...hell, add fees, fines, surcharges, to the mix and we're well on our fiscal sanity...

#2...legalize (AND encourage) gay marriage in California...and then further encourage ALL responsible gay couples to come to California, get married, and add to the California tax base. We may even want to add surcharges, etc., to marriage and marriage licenses while at the same time make divorce easier (and cheaper) and thereby encourage even more marriage.

#3...a California ID card...if you are a LEGAL resident of California, you receive an ID card (a Driver's License will suffice)...then, a nominal fee is placed on specified goods and services. If one possesses a "card," the fee is waived. If not, simply pay the relatively small surcharge (a matter of convenience). Difficult to collect? Nah, it can be done.

#4...hand in hand with number 3, rather than just "sin" taxes on the usual suspects (beer, wine, and cigarettes...add these "taxes" to services (like dry cleaning, auto repair, etc.) probably wouldn't hurt to look into this...and yes, I realize it's part of the Governor's proposal, so no, I guess it probably wouldn't work.

#5...however, what WOULD work, is gambling...a sort of Nevada-lite, if you will. We wouldn't necessarily have to have an entire industry...BUT, certainly, since we're already doing it for horse racing, card rooms, Indian Casino's, and the LOTTO (our kids win too...yeah, right), it shouldn't be too difficult. Imagine if you will, getting a piece of the pie for every insipid Super Bowl pool being circulated throughout work sites at this very moment.

#6...or last but not least...a part-time legislature...well, this is not new, but since representatives in Sacramento are basically part-time anyway, let's actually mean it. I'm not saying we should cut their pay...they still need a living wage. HOWEVER, stipends? Gone! Free autos? Gone! Free gas? Gone! Free travel? Gone! I'm NOT saying to cut out all perks (sure, many folks make their living providing services to the politicos), but we can easily turn our state back into a "working state."

Okay, that's it for now...please tune in for subsequent posts...future posts include my "Wizard of Oz" parody and my extremely sincere apology to the media...many (both) of you are saying I'm biting the hand of the person I hope to feed from someday...I disagree...but more on that later...

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