California is on the brink of financial collapse. Jennifer Steinhauer writes for The New York Times,
The state, nearly out of cash, has laid off scores of workers and put hundreds more on unpaid furloughs. It has stopped paying counties and issuing income tax refunds and halted thousands of infrastructure projects.
This crisis has many causes, but addressing it has been rendered nearly impossible by Republicans in the state legislature who block any form of tax increase. Hilzoy says,
They need three (3) Republican votes in each house. They can’t get them. And this despite the fact that the Republicans who have been negotiating have gotten a lot, including, according to the LATimes, “tax breaks for corporations”.
Really. I am not making this up. With the state budget $41 billion in deficit, Republicans held out for corporate tax cuts, and then aren’t even supporting the resulting bill.
Stopping building projects is costing Californians millions of dollars. Borrowing money to keep the government going is going to cost Californians millions of dollars.
As the stimulus bill becomes law today, we learn that a number of Republican governors are lining up to support it. It may be too little, too late for California. But a number of other states, both red and blue, may be pulled back from the brink of disaster by federal dollars — in no particular order, New York, Virginia, Iowa, Tennessee, Missouri, Ohio, etc. etc. Add your state here.
States are in trouble for a lot of reasons, but an immediate one is the loss of revenue by retailers. City and state budgets are breaking all over America.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist, a Republican, explains,
â€œIt really is a matter of perspective,â€ Mr. Crist said in an interview. â€œAs a governor, the pragmatism that you have to exercise because of the constitutional obligation to balance your budget is a very compelling pullâ€ generally.
With Florida facing a projected $5 billion shortfall in a $66 billion budget, and social costs rising, the stimulus package â€œhelps plug that hole,â€ Mr. Crist said, â€œbut it also helps us meet the needs of the people in a very difficult economic time.â€
And it appears Americans on the whole are glad Congress came through.
So, who’s not happy? Well, we know, don’t we?
As there weren’t enough Republicans in Washington to provide fodder for the story the New York Times wanted to write – they simply took it on the road to those Republicans Governors who also happen to be the ones most hat in hand when it comes to Federal dollars. Yep, quite a “conservative” bunch this crew. Or so the Times would have one believe. …
… How about if the Feds didn’t suck the money out of states to begin with only to wastefully plow it back in?
If you are wondering how the feds are sucking money out of states, read the comments to the rightie blog post linked above. They’ve noticed that poor New Jersey only gets back 70 percent of what it sends to Congress. Yes, and this is something I’ve written about in the past. The wealthier, more industrialized states (nearly all of which are blue) tend to pay more in taxes than they receive in federal dollars. Poorer, less industrialized states (nearly all of which are red) pay less in federal taxes than they receive in federal dollars.
In other words, for many years blue states have been carrying the load for red states that won’t pay for their own messes.
Now, if the conservatives who run the poor red states want to be real conservatives and stop grabbing money out of the hands of New Jersey taxpayers, I wouldn’t object. Let the freeloaders in Mississippi pay their own bleeping taxes, heh?
Of course, in the real world what would happen is that there would be a belt of states sunken into Third World style poverty by their idiot GOP state government, and this belt would stretch across the southeastern U.S. and reach up to the more rural western states. And in the long run it would hurt the U.S. as a whole more than it would help.
Right-wing economic “theory” is destroying America. It’s doing a bigger job on us that al Qaeda could ever have dreamed.