"No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." - - - William Blum

August 19, 2007

California's state senate Republicans continue their stranglehold on the state's finances with their stubborn refusal to compromise on an already-compromised state budget. Schwarzenegger's political clout (or, rather, lack thereof) is glowingly visible, as he cannot convince even one of the his party's holdout senators to vote in favor of the nearly two-month delayed budget that he himself supports. Speak Out California has a summary (excerpt):

...Although a Field poll conducted this week shows that just 12% of Californians are very concerned about the budget mess, thousands of unpaid bills are clogging the inboxes of the state. It is estimated that millions of dollars in late fees are already piling up and billions of dollars in unsold bonds are jeopardizing the state's plans to move forward with various programs. In addition to the $1 billion the state has now failed to make in Medi-cal payments to hospitals and other providers, Cal Trans estimates it has almost 35,000 invoices that are unpaid and more than $8 million owing to its vendors. For the California Highway Patrol, it's about $17 Million. It goes downhill from there to those seeking payment.

And for those needing services, ---the disabled, our kids and families who rely on state services, they're really starting to feel the pinch. Unfortunately, the Reps who are holding out are being heralded as heroes by their right-wing constituents. Sadly too many of them care little that the state is unable to provide much needed services to the neediest among us. As more vendors are unpaid and more small businesses are threatened, the cries will grow, even in the reddest of areas....

I work at a hospital in Los Angeles. It relies on approximately 2/3 of its care reimbursement from Medi-Cal, the state's Medicare-equivalent insurance program. As a long-term employee of this facility, I've seen similar situations during state budget impasses in previous years.

Of course this budget will eventually pass, but the short-term suffering and angst it's creating is simply an unforgivable political ploy by the Republican party.

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