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Saturday, January 12, 2008 7:53 PM


Mish's California Budget Proposal


California has a huge budget problem. It also has a huge governor problem. Schwarzenegger's one size fits all solution of reducing everything 10% to meet the budget crisis is a copout.

California Budget Since 1998



Here are the details of the one size fits all Budget-Balancing Reduction Proposal.

I spent hours going over that. It is a whopping 937 page PDF. Worse yet it was entirely an image file so I could not snip text and comment on it easily.

What stood out was a large number of totally useless departments that instead of being reduced, should be eliminated. Here are a few of them along with the savings. Dollars are in thousands.

100% Waste Of Taxpayer Money

Small Business Loan Guarantee Program
Scrap the program and save $4,886

Heath and Human Service Agency
This bureaucratic boondogle provides advice to the state on health issues
Scrap the program and save $5,335

California Conservation Corp
Workforce development program
Government has no business doing workforce development
Scrap this in entirety and save $37,638

Department of Conservation Mineral Resources
An easy scrap in entirety.
The state has no business mapping mineral resources
Scrap and save $5,117

Housing and Community Development
Block Grants
An easy no brainer
Scrap the whole thing and save $4,276

Housing and Community Development
Enterprise Zones
A no brainer
Scrap this program and save $602

Housing and Community Development
Housing elements
This is a local thing and should be funded at local levels if needed.
Scrap this program and save $1,633

Housing and Community Development
Administration
Scrap this and save $848

California Science Center
This educational program should be paid for by those who use it.
Scrap the program (or the funding of it) and make the users pay for it
Save $17,934

California African American Museum
Same as above
Eliminate the funding and save $2,490

State Personnel Board Bilingual Service Program
Another no brainer
Scrap the program and save $5,522

Migrant Services
A no brainer
Scrap this program and save $6,866

Wildlife Conservation Board
This is easy.
Scrap the whole thing and save $204

California Tourism Commission
Scrap the program and save $1,047

Office Of Military and Aerospace Support
Scrap the program and save $557

California Film Commission
Scrap the program and save $1,204

Coastal Commission
Administration
Another easy one to kill
Scrap the program and save $1,729

Native American Heritage Commission
Scrap the program and save $786

Health planning and development
This is work training to promote recruitment of students into health fields
The program is obviously total and complete nonsense
Scrap it and save $5,059

Health planning and development
Song-Brown Program
This is work training to promote recruitment of students into health fields
The program is obviously total and complete nonsense
Scrap it and save $497

Health planning and development
Snaple Program
This is work training to promote recruitment of students into health fields
The program is obviously total and complete nonsense
Scrap it and save $9

Department of Health care services
Strategic Planning
This is an easy thing to eliminate
Savings $93,843

Coastal Energy Program
Another easy one to kill
Scrap the program and save $516
================================
Total savings by elimination of complete nonsense
$198,602

State Parks Proposal

It appears the governor might be trying to get people all up in arms by closing some state parks. Perhaps the ones selected should be closed, but that is not the right approach. Here is mine:

Department of Recreation
State Parks
I propose cutting the budget in half. To fund the parks, the people that use the parks should pay for the parks. I propose raising entry fees, camping fees, fishing fees, hunting fees etc. so users of the facilities pay a bigger share for services. I would also eliminate all interpretive programs that require paid staff. Let "friend of the parks" volunteers provide intrepretive functions, perhaps for a small fee. Renegotiate deals on all concession services.
Proposed savings $204,736

Fire Protection Proposal

California Department of Forestry Fire Protection
Resource Management
Demonstration forests and the like can easily go.
I would cut this budget by 50% only keeping those parts directly related to fire control and safety. Savings $14,763

California Department of Forestry Fire Protection
Administration
Executive leadership and policy direction.
What a bunch of nonsense.
Scrap this by 90%
Cut it by 90% and save $42,878

California Department of Forestry Fire Protection
Fire Protection
I would rather have more firefighters and less administration
I will reduce the governor's proposed cut from $44,652 to $20,000

Total Savings All Firefighting: $77,641

Government Offices & Department of Justice

Office of Lieutenant Governor
My proposal increase reduction to $1,000
Save $1,000

Department of Justice
Proposed Reduction $41,605
For now I accept that figure

State Controller's Office
Proposed Reduction $8,986
This was in addition to a huge reduction in budget from 2007-2008
For now I accept that figure

Secretary of State Budget
Proposed Reduction $3,505
This was in addition to a huge reduction in budget from 2007-2008
For now I accept that figure

State Treasurer's Office
Proposed Reduction $715
For now I accept that figure

State Capitol Maintenance and Repair
I will accept the proposed reduction of $794

Total Savings $56,605

Fair Employment and Housing

Fair Employment and Housing
This misguided program deals with hate violence and discrimination.
At a minimum, hate violence should be a responsibility of the police, not some separate investigatory agency.
The rest of the program is questionable.
I will be generous and cut the budget by only half.
Savings $9344

Fair Employment and Housing (yet again)
This is case Adjudication
Scrap it and combine with the above.
Savings $1,170

Housing and Community Development
Housing Law & Building codes
I will accept the reduction of $64

Housing and Community Development
Employee Housing
I will accept the reduction of $85

Housing and Community Development
Emergency Housing assistance
This Program should be scrapped but I will be generous and keep it for safety reasons, for now.
I will accept the reduction of $401

Total Savings $11,064

Land Management & Environment

California Tahoe
Protect the Tahoe Basin
I will accept the reduction of $22

State Lands Commission
Oil and Gas Lease royalty verification
I will accept the proposed reduction of $335

State Lands Commission
Lease Appraisals
I am half inclined to kill the whole thing
For now I will accept the proposed reduction of $611

Department of fish and game
biodiversity
I will kill timber harvest programs
I will double the proposed reduction to $7,160

Department of fish and game
hunting and fishing
I will double the proposed reduction to $2,378

Department of fish and game
Administration
I will kill timber harvest programs
I will double the proposed reduction to $1,928

Department of fish and game
enforcement
I will double the proposed reduction to $5,268

Coastal Management
I will double the proposed reduction to $1,912

San Francisco Bay commission
I will accept the proposed reduction of $457

Water Resources
I will accept the proposed reduction of $1,583

Water Resources
Flood management
I will double the proposed cutback to $5,373

Central Valley Flood Protection Board.
This is a new service.
I would scrap it and save $2,000

Water Resources
Watermaster Program
I accept the proposed reduction of $136

Air Resources Board
I accept the proposed budget reduction of $2,432

Salt Water Resources
I will accept the proposed reduction of $3,659

Salt Water Resources
Water Rights
I will accept the proposed reduction of $390

Salt Water Resources
Administration
This is more policy direction nonsense, public information nonsense and other bureaucratic nonsense
There is lots of overlap on these programs
I will reduce this by 50% but we could probably get rid of the whole thing
Savings $10,570

Total Savings $46,214

Toxic Substances

Department of Toxic Substances
This department supports illegal drug cleanup, emergency removal of spills, etc.
When it comes to removal of spill, those doing the spilling should be fined for 120% of the cleanup costs if an accident, 200% if neglect, 500% for a willful violation of a law. Unless there is an immediate public health hazard, drug cleanup is not likely to be an emergency. The owners of the property should be responsible for cleanup. Until it is, property should be impounded.
Cut this budget by a minimum of 75% .

Proposed savings at 75% reduction is $20,200

Department of Toxic Substances
Pollution
I accept the proposed cut of $34

Department of Toxic Substances
Pollution
I accept the proposed cut of $96

Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
I accept the proposed reduction of $956

Total $21,286

Dept of alcohol and Drugs

Dept of alcohol and Drugs (ADP)
This is an easy 50% target if not more.
Savings at 50% $272,332

Department of Aging

California Department of Aging
I would scrap the program in entirety and save $216,442
However, this might have to be phased in over time
The goal would be an immediate reduction of 1/3 or $72,147
Immediate Savings $72,147

Emergency Health Care

Emergency Medical Services
I accept the reduction of $1,003

Poison Control.
I accept the reduction of $690

Emergency Medical Services
Multi-county
I accept the reduction of $242

Emergency Medical Services
Multi-county
I accept the reduction of $36

Emergency Medical Services
Mobile Medical
I accept the reduction of $35

Total Savings $2006

AIDS
Department of Health care services
AIDS/HIV programs
This is another program to kill entirely.
There does not need to be a special budget just for AIDS.
Whatever services are needed (if any) should be combined with other medical services.
Savings $415,829

Medi-Cal State Operations

Department of Health care services
Medi-Cal State Operations
directing the delivery of health care services to low income Californians through 12 divisions and two program offices.
I would scrap the whole thing. Free programs contribute to an influx of illegal aliens and a myriad of other problems down the line including a secondary effect of school funding.
Total Savings $397,999
I would phase this out over time with 50% right up front
Immediate Savings $198,999

Public Health Care

Department of Health care services MediCal Program
Public health care program for low income individuals
supposedly in a fiscally prudent manner.
The budget for this is a staggering $36,076,971



Chop this thing in half and save a whopping $18,038,485
The only way to do that is reduce service.
Yes, this means rationing health care.
Too much money is wasted giving things away care for "free".
So called "free" services drive up the cost for everyone else.

Broken bones and emergencies are one thing.
Liver and heart transplants for patients with no insurance are another.
Excessive procedures for terminally ill should be eliminated. Without insurance, not much above pain killers should be provided.

The choices sound harsh, but we we should not bankrupt the country with giveaway program that cannot be afforded. Oddly enough, if people are turned away responsibly, cost of insurance will drop.

I did not go through every program but I did get through well over 600 of the 937 pages.

The length and nature of the PDF made it easy to make errors. I am sure I made some, perhaps many errors because I could not cut and paste text.

What I wanted to do was provide a rational starting point for discussion about approaches and about choices. Whether or not you agree with my choices does not matter that much as long as it is understood there will be some very harsh choices somewhere.

Furthermore, there are alternatives to just cutting services. The state parks proposal above is just one example.

Harsh Choices Have To Be Made

On an Austrian economics basis, even bigger cuts would be made. I went after the easiest targets to provide a framework for discussion.

I talked about harsh choices coming up for California, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, and Florida in A Matter Of Choice.

Schwarzenegger has wimped out already. California has entire programs that can be and should be totally eliminated. This 10% wimp-out all but assures another 10% wimp-out is coming again next year as the recession takes its toll on both housing and jobs. Bernanke Has Reached A Point of Recognition. Schwarzenegger and the entire state of California need to do the same.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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