Pass Our Budget Act: what do you think?

It was only a matter of time. Folks are not amused. Please read the following proposed constitutional amendment below (source unknown) and take the RED poll below.

pass-our-budget-act

 Is it time to get tough with our state (and federal) leaders? What do you think?

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I was raised in Northern California on a sheep ranch. I'm passionate about working landscapes – balancing the interests of agriculture, thriving rural communities, and healthy natural resources. My husband Richard – the Professor - is a teacher. We live in Idaho with our horses, dogs, and close-by daughter and her family. I'm taking a trip soon and have attempted to introduce readers to some important backstories that will be helpful to understand the context for my observations. To read them, go to Topics in the sidebar and select Rambles with Ruby.

32 thoughts on “Pass Our Budget Act: what do you think?

    1. It would be interesting, wouldn’t it? Of course, with no Governor or legislature things might be a little scary on July 1st… No executive, no policy-makers – a bureaucrat’s dream! Katie, bar the door! Ha!

      Thanks for weighing in, Kathleen!

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  1. Just do it, They (the legislators), spend more than the state makes, takes county taxes and gives back a lower percentage each year hoping that the local govenments will raise taxes and revenue so they, the state, can continue to spend more than we the people can afford. New offices every year, govenment cars, trips, spending on "projected" rather than real income. Look what happed to Wall Street, it is only a matter of time before the states need a bailout larger than private business. Yes fire there asses, or do the job they said they would do, care for our public needs!

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    1. Hey Ted,

      Thanks for weighing in!

      I am wondering (as several have written me to point out) what would happen in the state on July 1st without a governor and legislators? At first that sounds like a relief, but sometimes bureaucrats are out of control too.

      Do you think it could come to that or are you of the opinion that the Act would ensure we always had a budget on time?

      Teri

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  2. Teri: Who were the idiots that came up with this???? ("source unknown" because they don't want anyone to know who wrote it!). Surely there can be no support for this ridiculous attempt at budget corrective measures. It sounds as if a group of high schoolers put it together…no, that's not right, high schoolers are smarter than that! I think someone is pulling our leg. Sue

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    1. Sue,

      I’m not sure if it’s for real or not. I guess we’ll know if we see the signature gatherers out in force. People are angry with those who are opposed to cuts AND those who are opposed to taxes. No one seems to be too angry with the governor (except the parties), although he has steadfastly refused to withdraw his own legislation that will be very costly when implemented despite the budget crisis. Hmmmm… stay tuned.

      Teri

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  3. I would ammend that proposal: to fire only the legislators that voted no for a balanced buget, and didn't compromise and cut spending, Mayors or County supervisors from districts could appoint legislators to fill the vacancies until the next election.

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    1. Ted,

      It sounds like you’ve had it! There may be quite a few others out there who have also run out of patience. Right now the poll is running 17-3 to approve the constitutional amendment. Regardless, legislators obviously have a steep hill to climb to regain the trust of the majority of our respondents.

      Teri

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  4. NO! There are hard working representatives who earn their pay. They are at the mercy of a badly flawed system. Amend the Constitution to allow budget to pass by a simple majority. The present system encourages the partisan bickering and stalling that is the problem. The majority should not be put at the mercy of a partisan minority.

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    1. Kathy,

      Thanks for your emphatic response. You are right – many of the legislators are hardworking and earn their pay and the system is broken. Hopefully not irretrievably…

      Teri

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  5. I like the proposal as written. Part of the flaw of the current system is that the "deadlines" are not real and that legislators who do negotiate in good faith are manipulated by those willing to play chicken with the state's finances. If something like this became CA law, it would change the whole dynamic of the budget negotiation process. I don't believe for a minute that any representatives would ever actually loose their jobs over this because everyone would know what the real deadline is. I have real deadlines in my job and I do what it takes to meet them. Guess what would happen if I don't.

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  6. I think it would and would also give the upper hand to representatives who are trying to have accomplishments to show in their tenure. And yes, it has been a while but I'm still kicking. I appreciate your emails and blog. Keep it coming.

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  7. The proposal is as full of holes as Swiss cheese. To pay our legislators, only to pay them later is the same as having no leverage. Withholding their payment, pension calculationon and benefits like per-diem on a daily prorated basis, not to be paid later or anytime after is a better way to go. To terminate any or all legislators is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We have elected them to do a job and we should force them to do it with the leverage aas pointed out above. We, the constituents have to take a firmer stance and elect more fiscally responsible representatives and not the freespending assembly and senate we have today. The ultimate responsibility of a sane budget is ours. We are demanding and getting more services than we deserve. The free lunch for illegal aliens has to stop, even if it is only a small portion of the budget shortfall.
    The California Constitution should also be modified to reflect the US Constitution, have the Assembly constituted as now but have the State Senate changed to have one State Senator for each County!! Take away the unbalanced power from the large metropolitan areas and leave the rural counties with the short end of the stick like now!!!

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  8. Teri, this is a very interesting amendment. In principal it seems to make sense, but in practicality it would only strenghthen the lobbyists, who have the financial backing to "churn out" or produce new politicians. We do have to understand that the income that these legislators receive from the state is a very finite amount of money that they have. Now don't get me wrong I am not coming down hard on all people in public office, but there must be a better way to apply pressure than in job security or financially.

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  9. OH WAIT! I have a brilliant plan! how about all the people who disagree with them or want to encourage them actually participate in the system of government more than just putting a check mark next to someones name every year! (Sorry for that burst of sarcasm) Honestly, I am tired of people just talking to their friends or neighbors, blogging on the net, calling in to some radio show, or just yelling at the TV when they are disgusted with things in gov't.
    LET'S ALL (even me) CALL OUR GOV'T OFFICIALS, and tell them about our feelings of disappointment in their job and just as important call them to cheer them on! WE ARE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, be proud and let our voices be heard!
    Thank You Teri for this opportunity. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thanks for expressing your frustration with the way the system is working, Noah. You are right – we need to make sure that our leaders (that includes me) clearly understand our values and opinions. To the extent that we are silent, we share in the blame.

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    2. Honestly, we have some pretty darn good leaders representing us Noah. Teri, Tom Berryhill, Dave Cogdill. The only one I'd like to know more about would be our federal rep. Radanovich. Otherwise, most of our folks are working hard for us…..not against us.

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  10. Teri, The amendment has merit, though I tend to believe getting it passed and added to the State Constitution would be an arduous task. It think Paragraph (a) should be revised to read "50%" rather than 25%. Most of our legislators have income from other sources and would probably be affected little, if any, even with a 50% reduction in their salaries. Additionally, perhaps one might consider adding a paragraph eliminating completely, all use of State-supplied vehicles, State-funded travel, and per-diem for the governor and all legislators in the event the budget is not in place by July 1 of any year.

    As an aside, we taxpayers need to consider providing a means of amending the State guidelines to limit the furnishing of State vehicles, reimbursement of travel expenses, and per-diem currently paid to legislators to those vehicles and reimbursement rates provided to all other State employees. Currently, all legislators are provided with the vehicle of their choice (luxury SUV, compact hybrid, whatever…). Some of these vehicles we purchase for them cost over $50,000. We need to provide them with vehicles from the Department of General Services standard State contract (run-of the mill standard sedans, compacts, and/or fuel efficient vehicles). Travel claim reimbursement and per-diem needs to be held to the same $84.00 plus lodging as everyone else. Currently, legislators are paid $174.00 (I believe), regardless of actual incurred expenses. Plus, there is little, if any accountability for these reimbursements. Falsification of records by any other State employee would result in immediate dismissal and prosecution. Looks like our legislators need to pony up in the same manner. My $.02 anyway.

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  11. Horribly written amendment. Section D borders on absurdity. Modifying spending in lieu of revenue changes is one of many reasons why the budget is passed after July 1st. Officials cannot agree on tradeoffs. Who is going to modify, in section D, spending, in line with revenue changes, if the legislator and governor are removed from office? The judicial branch? Lt. Governor? Secondly, modifying spending such that "it fits with revenue changes" will still delay budget implementation until after July 1st. The modification fo spending, to fit revenues, does not even begin until June 30th/July 1st. Section D creates instances that contradict the basic objective of the constitutional amendment; pass a budget before the budget year begins.

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  12. It seems as though the Assemblyman who wrote this amendment was doing it out of emotion and lacked rationality. I can understand his/her frustration, but this was definitely a 'shot in the dark' and didn't have much substantiality. Maybe a more realistic amendment should be drafted (if this happens again) because it does adversely affect all our lives when our leaders can't make up their minds.

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  13. Hi Heidi,

    The person who sent the Constitutional Amendment did not say where it came from – I don't think it was a legislator. You've hit the nail on the head though by noting the frustration and emotion that preceded the proposed Pass Our Budget act. People seem to want a revolution!

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    1. Hi Teri. Your ending comment here is spot on! Things are shaping up to erupt like a volcano. Although this may seem fightening to some, sometimes it is the only way to change the situation. This is how the forefathers of our country felt. For almost a hundred years before the founding of our country the colonies endured the strong hand of the King of England. They complained quietly at first, but after generations of frustration and anguish, it turned into the Boston Tea Party and eventually the American Revolution.
      Hasn't it been almost a hundred years of this "strong-handed" government? Sounds to me like "Indians" throwing tea!

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      1. There are quite a few articles out there eluding to a mass exodus from California in the next couple of years. It has already begun, but should become a lot more noticable. Unless all the illegal aliens are going to foot the bill, those of that remain can expect either higher taxes or possibly revolution. Either way, the whole country isn't far behind California. You'd think they'd look to us as a lesson of what not to do rather than what to do!

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  14. So basically what we're seeing here is that someone was trying to get our legislators' attention….so they can start a revolution? Oh wait, I thought a revolution was already started when the budget failed to come out on schedule. Hmmmmm……..

    Revolution – a fundamental change in orginizational structures

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