Wednesday, May 30, 2012

California's Spending Addiction

When spending beyond our means catches up to us, most of us will cut back spending and work to pay off our debts.  Drug addicts aren't like that, of course.  They have a powerful physical need.  They will rob, burglarize and in some extreme cases even kill to get money for their next fix.  I've recently heard of two examples.  The first isn't quite so bad, but the second is simply reprehensible.

You may recall that money from tobacco lawsuits and taxes were supposed to go to smoking cessation programs.  So, California's use of the money comes as a shock:
 Between 1998 and 2010, just 6 percent of the money collected from a massive lawsuit settlement and from cigarette taxes went to tobacco interdiction and education programs, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week, far below federal spending guidelines for effectively curbing tobacco use.

California lawmakers in 2003 used the tobacco industry payments as collateral on bonds to help close the state's general fund deficit.

"California gave away all its (tobacco) settlement agreement money. None of it went to tobacco control. It should have," [American Cancer Society lobbyist Jim] Knox said.
Source here.  That's right, California used the money as collateral against bonds to try to close the 2003 general fund deficit.  This exposes the lie that this money is being used to help educate people and help them stop smoking.  As usual, money collected in California will be used on wasteful spending. 

The second story is simply sick.  It really does make California look like a dirty addict lying in the gutter robbing mommies with strollers to get its fix.
After the 2001 terrorist attacks, California lawmakers sought a way to channel the patriotic fervor and use it to help victims' families and law enforcement. Their answer: specialty memorial license plates emblazoned with the words, "We Will Never Forget."

Part of the money raised through the sale of the plates was to fund scholarships for the children of California residents who perished in the attacks, while the majority -- 85 percent -- was to help fund anti-terrorism efforts.

But an Associated Press review of the $15 million collected since lawmakers approved the "California Memorial Scholarship Program" shows only a small fraction of the money went to scholarships. While 40 percent has funded anti-terror training programs, $3 million was raided by Gov. Jerry Brown and his predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to plug the state's budget deficit.

Moreover, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has been advertising the plates as helping the children of Sept. 11 victims even though the state stopped funding the scholarship program seven years ago. The specialty plate fund continues to take in $1.5 million a year.
Source here, emphasis mine.  You should be disgusted.  They're playing on your patriotism and compassion for the families of victims of 9/11 to steal more money to squander.   When individuals collect money for a charity under false pretenses, they go to jail for it.  California just keeps lying in the hopes its citizens will give more money the government can steal from the families of 9/11 victims.

Prop 13 isn't California's problem.  It never has been.  Out of control spending by our irresponsible legislature is the problem.

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