Friday, June 18, 2010

States Nationwide Plead for More Backdoor Bailouts .... err, "Stimulus"

I decided last evening to spend a sum total of 5 minutes seeing how many states I could find groveling for "stimulus" (wink wink) i.e. a transfer of funds from the national taxpayer to their hands so they can kick the can down the road again.  This is an issue FMMF has been highlighting since 2007 before it was sexy.  [Dec 16, 2007: California in a State of Fiscal Emergency - Coming to a Theater Near You]   While Cali gets most of the publicity, this is a problem in almost every state and other players such as Illinois might be in just as bad shape; if not worse.  As I said a two years ago when the Bush stimulus passed, I expected another one the following year (and boy did we get a doozy, I thought it would "only" be $500B)... and then another (they are working on it as we speak) and another and another and another.  There is something called a structural deficit happening in most states - and kicking the can to win election while trimming some fat around the edges and smiling at the camera (or borrowing more) is the only solution most can come up with.

With my 5 minutes I found plenty of examples just in the first 2, so I spent the other 3 minutes laughing out loud as I skimmed various stories of proposed reforms in various states being shot down by public union representatives who say they have struggled with a lower wage for years on end ("this was our sacred understanding") and in return will not budge on pensions or benefits.  (the quotes from Wisconsin were especially egregious but I assume there must be national talking points because it's almost verbatim commentary no matter the state)  Obviously they do not realize what has happened the past decade or two in the private sector.

  • 1 out of every 5 government employee now makes at least $100K
  • The growth in six-figure salaries has pushed the average federal worker's pay to $71,206, compared with $40,331 in the private sector.*

*please note that last factoid is federal government worker pay versus state level... I'd love to get my hands on average state pay but have yet to locate a national statistic.

Anyhow a sample below of what I found in a few minutes work on google... and just as the financial oligarchs refute any reform with "we are only here to grease the skids of capitalism" and "we only provide liquidity" and "financial innovation is cool!", remember the company line:  No reforms allowed in the public sector or else you will lose all teachers, fire(wo)men and police.  Just remember it is "stimulus"... not a backdoor bailout.

Keep in mind the amounts vary since the GDP of each state varies.... here are the first 6 I could find:  Half a billion here, quarter of a billion there, a billion here - soon you are talking real money.  But not to worry, after some show for the voters to let us know "they care" about the deficit, the monies will be be forwarded by Congress.  Then we can prepare for the bailout stimulus of 2011.

  • If Washington state does not get the extra funds it expects - $480 million
  • Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.....receive the $850 million 
  • Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson... extra $130 million
  • Virginia Finance Secretary Rick Brown... expects $165 million
  • In California... expects $1.5 billion
  • Patterson's New York budget ... includes $1.1 billion of aid

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