Orange County officially freaks out over Jerry Brown’s draconian balanced budget.

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So, Governor Brown and the Sacramento Democrats, finally giving up on getting ANY co-operation from Sacramento Republicans on the matter of revenue, have come up with an extremely harsh but balanced budget – as they had promised to – cutting $650 million each from the University of California system and the CSU system, $150 million from state courts, and $2.8 billion in deferred payments to K-12 and community colleges, ON TOP of $400 million taken from community colleges.

And this is the best-case scenario! It depends on a very optimistic expectation of an extra $4 billion in tax receipts (since those HAVE been coming in higher than expected.)  If that revenue doesn’t come in, there’s a trigger built into this budget that will cut EVEN MORE: $2.5 billion more in spending cuts to schools and other programs in the middle of the fiscal year;  shortened school years, increased community college fees, $100 million more from in-home support services, half a billion from school bus transportation, and $100 million more in cuts from UC and CSU each.

And Orange County is singled out for special punishment.  Since our 1994 (Dave-Ellis-related) bankruptcy, we’d been getting $48 million a year from vehicle license fees to help us pay back our loans – that is now on the chopping block, to the great howling chagrin of both suave Lou Correa and Don “Spanky” Wagner.

Well, our fine Orange County Supervisors are none too pleased about this – especially that last bit – and they sent me this press release which I believe you are all intended to see:

Proposed State Budget Would Result In $48 Million Cut for Orange County

(Santa Ana, CA) — The proposed State Budget agreement would cut $48 million in guaranteed funding for Orange County.

“The proposal before the California Legislature would cut $48 million that Orange County receives from Vehicle License Fees,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Campbell. “The loss of revenue would force the County to make major program cuts that would affect public safety programs in the Sheriff’s Department, Probation Department and Office of the District Attorney.  At its core, this will mean the County will have to close jail beds, reduce the number of prosecutors in courtrooms and close juvenile detention facilities. It would also mean significant cuts to critical public health programs including community clinics and social services. This action threatens the viability of core safety net services at a time when people need these services most of all.”

Orange County has already made dramatic cuts to its programs over the past four years in response to the economic downturn. The County has demonstrated fiscal responsibility by four consecutive years of Net County Cost reductions and by reducing the number of budgeted employee positions by 1,400 over the last four years while handling increased caseloads in many safety net service areas. This diversion of funding from Orange County threatens the ability of the County to main a minimum level of service and may jeopardize public health and safety.

Ironically, the Board of Supervisors today approved a balanced County budget for Fiscal Year 2011-12.

Hey wait a second, aren’t these people, who are complaining about all these cuts, Orange County Republicans?

People who are most certainly friends and supporters of useless assemblymen like Wagner, Mansoor, Harkey, Silva, Miller and Hagman, and useless Senators like Harman, Huff, Wyland, and Mimi Walters?  Grover Norquist disciples who lifted not a finger to prevent this catastrophe, and whose only motive is to break California’s government, to “shrink it till it can be drowned?”

Did these disgruntled Supervisors ever once put any pressure on our Republican legislators to at least vote with Jerry to allow US TAXPAYERS to decide on the ballot if we wanted to extend some of our modest taxes to PREVENT this catastrophe?

Sounds like a case of sowing the wind, reaping the whirlwind, and then typical right-wing whining.  Also, it reminds me of when my dog has so much fun tearing apart his chew toy, and is then inexpressibly sad when it won’t squeak like it used to.

As usual, we citizens are going to have to take the desperate revenue situation into our own hands, if we want our state to remain the civilized and promising place it always was.  Very soon we’re going to get to vote on:

  • An oil extraction fee, in this one and only oil-producing state that doesn’t have one;
  • A 1%-on-1% tax;  that is, a 1% tax raise on the top 1% of income earners – billionaires and multi-millionaires;
  • Another (hopefully successful) attempt to terminate Schwarzenegger’s corporate tax loopholes;
  • and a reform of Prop 13 to a split-roll assessment system – protecting the original “mom-and-pop” property owners the Proposition was intended to protect, while taxing commercial property at current market rates, finally ending one of California’s greatest and longest swindles.


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Oh, PS.  Did you hear the one – stop me if you’ve heard it – where Governor Brown put OCEA head Nick Berardino onto the OC Fair Board, to rub elbows and egos with plutocrat crooks Dave Ellis and Dale Dykema?  No?

Well, that’s it.  That’s the joke.  And it’s true.  And it’s hilarious.  Fair Board meetings will be not-to-miss now.  And do you really think Jerry’s gonna sell the property?


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.