Tuesday, July 21, 2009

California's Budget - Bad For All

California's budget was finally passed last night.  The thing is nobody is happy about it, and that is probably a good thing.

Budgets are hard.  It is not something that most people understand.  I have to deal with this at work all the time.  I have a budget for the department.  I cannot simply spend more than my budget.  No matter how much work there may be I cannot just go hire a new person to do the work.  I have to to be very sure that the benefit of hiring someone, buying a new computer, or sending someone to training outweighs the problems that breaking the budget brings.  If it is not everyone ends up paying for it as the company will miss profit numbers and that results in budget cuts, i.e. layoffs.

This is a classic economics problem.  Economics deals with how to allocate limited resources against unlimited wants.  Nobody in California thinks they should give up their budget.  But California spends money on three major things.  Education,  health care, and law enforcement.  Of course nobody wants to take money away from teachers, nobody wants to turn sick people away, and nobody wants to free prisoners.  So given that, where do you expect California to cut?  When you have a budget gap like California, you cannot make a dent in it if you do not cut from the biggest ticket items.  And this is what California has done.  What else could they do?

As much as I love living here, I have to admit that things are not so great for some.  Unemployment is over 10% in the state.  Housing is still way too expensive.   Taxes are going to have to rise more than they already have (Sales tax is 9.75% in many areas).  So many great reasons to be here.  But for some, especially those in my age group, the negatives are starting to outweigh the positives.

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