As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

$63 Billion?

Not sure where the LA Times is pulling this figure from.

A $5-million plan to replace 78 wood piles that support the pier is among the hundreds of California projects that stand to benefit from the federal stimulus measure. In fact, the first major initiative of the Obama administration could deliver as much as $63 billion to the state.

Some of the money would help ease California's budget crisis, although officials in Sacramento say it would cover only one-quarter of the nearly $42-billion deficit [...]

The $63-billion projection for California -- provided by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank with ties to President Obama -- includes about $44 billion to help pay for things such as infrastructure projects, healthcare for the poor and increased unemployment benefits.

The remaining $19 billion would cover the cost of the individual tax cuts to Californians.

To be fair, the story does make clear that state and local government relief would only directly impact about 1/4 of the budget hole. But I think it's dangerous to throw around $63 billion when there's still going to be a need for tough solutions on revenues and cuts in the budget. That number throws in the kitchen sink - it includes tax cuts to individuals and businesses, unemployment insurance extension, food stamp benefits, everything. The fact that more people have money to spend may positively impact the bottom line if California catches some of that cash in sales taxes, but the story - and really the projection by CAP - makes it sound like California will be handed a $63 billion dollar oversized novelty check. This will only serve to aid the radical Yacht Party agenda, allowing them to say that California just got a bailout so there's no need for tax increases. Every sane person knows that the federal windfall will help but not fix the budget, and talk of $63 billion like it's a sugar plum fairy really hurts the ability to make that fix happen.

For example, when citizens all over the state don't get their tax refunds in the coming months, with taxpayers on the low end of the income scale feeling the greatest effect, and they read stories about $63 billion flowing to the state, who do you think they're going to blame? And I'm sure the Yacht Party will be around to direct that blame, too.

It's fairly irresponsible to headline "$63 BILLION!" when we know only $10 billion of that will directly hit the budget.

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