I just signed this petition to hold Uganda responsible for their crimes against humanity. I also support Patrick Leaghy’s suggestion to cut funding to Uganda.
Governor Brown, Assemblyman Dickinson, Senator Steinberg, and all other California Assembly and Senate Representatives,
I heard on NPR on 2-19-14 that the teachers’ union lobbyists et al were up at the Capitol asking for a bailout of the STRS system to the tune of 71 BILLION dollars.
I do not want any more of my tax money going to pay 100% (or more) of the highest year’s salary in retirement to teachers and administrators. These retirement packages are an unreasonable gift of public funds and bailing out STRS is a burden to those of us who have no govt. retirement but SS to rely on.
I do not want to become a virtual slave to paying fat retirements for educators (or any other public employees). We give educators 8.25% of their salary now (avg. teacher salary in Sacramento is $59,000), that’s enough.
If STRS has over-promised, then it is time to get real and adjust educator’s expectations downward to less than 100% retirement. Educators should not be coming to the tax payers (again) for more funds to make STRS’ overblown actuarial ends meet. I take the position that the fund must pay for itself with the money tax payers are putting in now. Enough is enough.
Much of the PR coming from Africa is negative with Uganda and Nigeria leading the headlines. The news from Africa has been mostly bad for decades, but all the issues in the past made me feel sympathetic. I’d donate funds to help in a crisis.
But now I hear negatives with a much different slant. Gay people being jailed for life? Beaten by the police to name names. Executed? Not with my money. I am writing to my legislators to ask them to stop funding countries with such horrific laws.
I fear that bad PR in Africa may erode sympathetic feelings. It may set up its people for more crisis as aid shrinks from people like me who disagree with punishing people for being who they are. What surprises me more is to learn that white, American fundamentalist Christians are behind these laws. I’m not shocked because they would push their agenda, I am shocked that Africans are buying what they’re selling.
As a Christian, I am just disgusted.
This table below summarizes California Debt. The information is from the SF Gate website .
This is an interesting list with a hefty sum of 354.5 billion dollars. As someone with no dog in this fight beyond being a citizen on the hook for all this dough, and being that I am not a state employee, not unemployed by bond money, nor am I going to be employed via the unsold bonds, I think this list is SIMPLE to trim. Not politically simple of course with powerful unions and their lobbyists, but then what do I care about the political influence of groups sucking the California taxpayers dry?
|Outstanding debt||Billions/% of total||SOLUTIONS|
|State retiree health care benefits||$63.8 billion||Cut the entire budget for this, they’re all good Democrats anyway so sign them up for Obamacare.|
|University of California retiree health care benefits||$13 billion|
|State employee pensions||$45.5 billion||Mandate that payouts do not exceed investment yields. We all pay enough into the CalPERS and CalSTRS retirement funds so that even with cuts, no retiree will be on social security level retirement.|
|Teacher pensions||$80.4 billion|
|University of California employee pensions||$12 billion|
|Judges’ pensions||$3.1 billion|
|Maintenance of Proposition 98 guarantee for education spending||$4.5 billion||Fine, pay it.|
|Unemployment Insurance debt to federal government||$8.8 billion||The Federal Government mandated that the benefits be extended, so sue them to pay the debt.|
|“Wall of Debt,” including outstanding bonds, debts to local governments and schools||$24.9 billion||Fine pay it.|
|Deferred maintenance||$64.6 billion||This number is smoke and mirrors. If you have a 20 year roof and it lasts 30 years, they add it to the total.|
|Unissued bonds||$33.9 billion||Don’t issue them. Debt resolved.|
Three of these items should be eliminated:
- 61.43% of this debt, 217.8 billion dollars reflects retirement benefits. My opinion is that working at a state or local job for 30 years should not mean you automatically get the same salary and health benefits for the remainder of your life, at least not if I have to pay for it. Nobody is paying for my retirement (social security? please…). When did Californians vote to give people who treat you badly anyway this kind of perk? Retirement accounts I pay into will only pay based on the yield of the investment. State retirements should be run the same way. This guaranteed payout on my back is bullshit and it is obviously bankrupting the state. Why are we paying health care for retirees? Most are veterans (many are because of veteran preference in hiring) or senior citizens covered by veterans administration, medicare, and those who aren’t will get Obamacare. Cut the debt from the whole program! There are plenty of ways for retirees to get health care.
- Unissued bonds account for 9.5% of the debt. If we can’t afford to pay this debt, why would we not just take those bonds and cancel them. We can’t afford to borrow more money.
- 64.6 billion in Deferred maintenance is a shell game perpetrated by maintenance managers to leverage higher budgets. It is smoke and mirrors that puts an arbitrary shelf life on things that need upkeep. When a task is not done due to budget limitations, like buying a state worker a new office chair when their office chair is more than “X” years old, then the cost of the chair goes into deferred maintenance (I don’t actually know if chairs are in the list, it’s an example, relax). This is another 18.3% of the total debt.
Cutting these three things results in a whopping reduction in the debt of 89.23%
A budget spring has sprung in California. A plump furry little budget bunny has hopped into a grassy California meadow where it nibbles grass amid wildflowers. But hungry union wolves are licking their bloody chops watching the potential feast.
Wolf supporters and apologists are proposing ways to filet the bunny, skin it, tan the hide, roast the carcass, cut the flowers and mow the meadow. Senator Steinberg wants to add another whole year of school to the educational system, transitional Kinder he calls it. I call it nonsense. It is a money grab by the teachers union and nothing more than recruiting another large block of Democratic voters who will see themselves as indebted to the Wolves of Capitol Avenue.
Governor Brown issued a budget that urges caution. Stop he yells! Do not to slay the bunny. Let it live and multiply, let the flowers bloom and the grass grow. Save some money for tomorrow. The old man is wise.
California may have a budget surplus today, but it faces enormous and expensive challenges this year. The retirement systems that over-promise (100% or more) retirement pay for many state employees and teachers. We’re in the middle of a drought that promises a dreadful fire season. Agriculture will suffer enormous losses if the drought continues. Farmers and oil barons will become locked in a water battle with oil companies and environmentalists over water rights for farming and fracking.
This is no time to eat the bunny. We need to poach a few wolves instead.