State budget options grim

Pounding sand
Pounding sand
Both of the proposed May revisions to the state’s 2009-10 budget are grim, as outlined in the county’s Friday memo.

It reminds me of asking, “Would you rather burn to death or freeze to death?” Neither is desirable.

If the May 19 propositions pass, the state still faces a ballooning deficit.

The shortfall stood at $42 billion when the budget was “balanced” in February, but it has grown by an additional $15.4 billion because of the recession.

If the propositions fail, an additional $5.9 billion shortfall exists, bringing the total to $21.3 billion.

•Proposal A, with the propositions passing, calls for cuts to education, HHSA, Medical and IHSS, among others.

•Proposal B, with the propositions failing, calls for added cuts to education; incarceration of non-violent prisoners in county jails, not state prisons; and release of illegal aliens from state prisons to the Feds.

This is just a proposal, however — the debate is likely to continue through the summer. Meanwhile, about 5,000 state workers are being laid off, or 2.5 percent of the workforce.

The county’s budget will be released next week, with hearings on June 2.

I’m betting the propositions will fail, except for the last one, with most people seeing them as a “band aid” approach.

Let’s hope the legislature is more serious about “balancing” the budget this time around. Pounding sand is not the answer.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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