Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The state is in the toilet, but at least they're protecting New Zealand cows

Stu Woo in the WSJ reports on the California legislature's major accomplishments this year.
On the brink of insolvency, California may have to pay its bills with IOUs soon. A budget was due three months ago, and the legislature hasn't passed one.

The lawmakers can, however, point to a list of other achievements this year. Awaiting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature, for example, is a bill that would bar the state from filming cows in New Zealand. It's the fruit of five committee votes and eight legislative analyses.

California lawmakers also voted to form a lobster commission. They created "Motorcycle Awareness Month," not to mention a "Cuss Free Week."

And they kept the California state rock safe. Senate Bill 624 had sought to bust the rock, serpentine. Adamant opposition protected it, but sponsor Gloria Romero declared this "an issue we should address again."

Failure to pass a budget has reinforced the most populous state's image as also the most ungovernable. Mr. Schwarzenegger proposed his budget in January. Legislators have had all year to revise it and pass one more to their liking. It's the only state with a fiscal year that began July 1 that hasn't passed a budget.

California paid bills with IOUs for two months last year, and the state controller says he may resort to them again in the next weeks if lawmakers tarry. Legislative leaders say they hope to have a preliminary budget this week to deal with a shortfall currently projected at $19 billion. It still may take weeks of wrangling to wrap up final details.
Yet, come November Californians will leave the same politicians in charge in Sacramento and continue whistling past their fiscal graveyard while they slouch towards total insolvency.