January 02, 2011

How to ease state fiscal debt woes. LISTENING, MARK DAYTON ??

In Open Letter to Jerry Brown, in San Diego's La Prensa, comments were made by the asst. director of AFSME.  After an introduction to the demise of the California golden way of life,Willie L. Pelote, Sr., points out several great schemes to end the "deficit" without raising taxes.  I have added numbers to highlight the strategies:
   One way is for California to (1) close the loopholes in its tax code and (2) to require stricter oversight of all the state’s tax subsidy programs like the failed enterprise zone program to ensure that our tax dollars are spent wisely.
   We should also (3) repeal those tax breaks recently handed out to Comcast, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, and Hollywood film studios for the ostensible purpose of creating jobs.
   This is because these companies have done nothing but ship more jobs out of California and lay off more people.
   According to an article by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Washington correspondent Carolyn Lochhead, closing California’s tax loopholes would result in annual budget surpluses for some time to come.
   If the free market is really as ideal a mechanism for creating wealth as its supporters claim, then why must taxpayers subsidize the operations of private sector companies?
   In fact, since the private sector has so far been unwilling or unable to produce the kinds of jobs we need to pull California out of recession, that is all the more reason to be vigilant with our tax dollars.
   The state should also (4) stop paying private contractors more than $34 billion a year to do jobs that civil servants can perform for roughly half the cost.
   A 2009 analysis by the State Compensation Insurance Fund and California Research Bureau found that it generally costs the state 50 percent more to hire private contractors than to have state employees perform the same work.
   Finally, since most of our tax dollars over the past two years have been spent on unpopular bailouts of the banks and financial institutions that caused the Great Recession we are all living through, this means that the budget deficits we’ve incurred at the federal and state level were brought on by Wall Street.
   California should, therefore, (5) institute a surcharge on financial service transactions like stock trades to make sure that Wall Street, not Main Street, bears the cost of cleaning up this economic mess.
   Going forward, we must be steady in our commitment to maintaining a high quality of life through quality public services provided by highly skilled, educated, and experienced civil servants while repudiating austerity measures that will transform greater swaths of the Golden State into a Third World nation.
Willie L. Pelote, Sr. is an Assistant Director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO.

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