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CALIFORNIA'S BUDGET WOES
By Lynn Stuter
November 18, 2003
The California recall election is now a done deal, Governor Gray Davis, a Democrat, has conceded defeat to actor, now Governor, Arnold Schwartzenegger. Of course, the fact that Schwartzenegger is married to Maria Schriver, who calls Teddy Kennedy — one of the most liberal Democrats around — uncle, undoubtedly has not escaped the attention of many.
One of the primary reasons the recall election came about was California's growing budget deficit. Interviews following the recall election divulged that California has as much as an 80% budget mandate, meaning the monies that comprise 80% of the California budget cannot be taken away or decreased. That should make Californians set up and take notice.
Where does this 80% budget mandate come from? It comes from accepting federal grant money. Federal grants provide "seed money" for projects the feds want to see happen in the states. The "seed money" equates to pennies on the dollar of the over-all cost of the project, but the state must, in obtaining the federal grant, comply with the federal mandates, no matter how much those mandates cost. Obviously, at this point, those mandates equate to 80% of California's current budget.
Is the problem soon to be former governor, Gray Davis? Whether one likes or dislikes Gray Davis, his party, or his politics, Gray Davis may be part of the problem but he certainly is not the entirety of the problem by a long shot.
The problem is the California Legislature that is constitutionally charged with the task of budgeting and passing state laws. It is the California Legislature who is also responsible for allowing state agencies to apply for and accept the federal discretionary grants that are only granted if the state agrees to abide by the federal mandates that come with the discretionary grants and that now require that the California Legislature apportion 80% of its monies a certain way.
As with other states, the California Legislature isn't made up of just Democrats, it also is made up of Republicans who are just as eager to obtain federal grants as the Democrats are. How many times have we heard the old mantra from state elected officials, "If we don't apply for and get the federal grant money, another state will; another state will get OUR SHARE!"?
And this problem is not just relevant to California. Every state in the United States is now looking at budget problems, and for the same reason.
When the discretionary grants from the federal government to a state, printed on continuous feed paper, 20+ grants to a page, and the continuous feed paper comprises a stack 7+ inches thick, you know that a given state is having to comply with more than just a few federal mandates. The situation is actually to the point that state legislatures are not more than puppet bodies, just as locally elected school boards are not more than puppet bodies.
Where is all this heading? We hear more and more about "regionalism." As school districts go bankrupt under systems government, districts are being consolidated into mega-districts, moving the seat of government farther from the people served in that the seat of government comprises a much larger area. The same will be true when states go bankrupt ... states will be consolidated into regions established according to the commerce of the states involved, and will be totally under the control of the federal government. The Tenth Amendment will have been effectively destroyed.
In 1956, Nikita Khrushchev, then the communist leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), stated:
His words should have been heeded rather than laughed at. It is happening in America with the implementation of systems governance.
People who don't learn from history are bound to repeat it. Our Founding Fathers are undoubtedly shaking their heads that they sacrificed so much for the future generations who would just throw it away.
© 2003 Lynn M. Stuter - All Rights Reserved
Mother and wife, Stuter has spent the past ten years researching systems theory with a particular emphasis on education. She home schooled two daughters, now grown and on their own. She has worked with legislators, both state and federal, on issues pertaining to systems governance and education reform. She networks nationwide with other researchers and citizens concerned with the transformation of our nation. She has traveled the United States and lived overseas. Web site: www.learn-usa.com E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"And this problem is not just relevant to California. Every state in the United States is now looking at budget problems, and for the same reason."