Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Intended Consequences

The city of Scranton, PA has slashed municipal salaries lower than a fry cook at McDonald's.
The city of Bakersfield, CA is about to declare bankruptcy.
Conservatives didn't go Galt, they brought Galt's Gulch here.
Do we like it?
In Scranton, the Democratic mayor can't get the Democratic city council to agree on a tax hike to cover salaries and to get the banks to lend to the city again. But a lot of the problem stems from two things: Republican governor Tom Corbett, who's more interest in voter ID and transvaginal ultrasounds than in good governance, and Republicans in Congress who insist on cutting aid to communities in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy.
Scranton, while not a poor town, is not exactly a hotbed of wealth. Families there can't afford to hire private security forces or private fire fighters.
Bakersfield is the culmination of some forty years of tax insanity in California as a whole, however. Proposition 13, and its aftermath (preventing local communities from circumventing that law), have created massive budget holes across the state at all levels of government. California now distributes block grants of tax revenues. You can bet those are based on antiquated formulae and reward communities favorable to the current legislature at the expense of communities who support the opposing party.
A quarter of a million people were affected yesterday by bad legislation, and bad administration.