Cuts and consequences

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Government staff cuts pinch everyday life

By Hal Rhodes

Those angry growls you hear are likely emanating from employees of state, local and county governments around these United States, and their fury is approaching the level a roar. Two years into the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression, there’s barely a state where declining tax revenues haven’t produced budget shortfalls the likes of which haven’t gripped state and local governments in decades.

When states have money problems, of course, those woes automatically spread to their cities and counties,  which find themselves having to take all sorts of measures—often counter-productive in nature—to balance expenditures against revenues.

California, with its blatantly undemocratic setup that permits a minority of state lawmakers to veto tax hikes backed by a legislative majority, is in a league of its own where imbalanced budgets are concerned.

As a consequence, despite draconian state and local budget cuts, the Golden State’s fiscal affairs remain radically out of whack.

In an exercise of executive power unlike anything since the monarchs of Divine Rights Days, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger  unilaterally promulgated an edict reducing state employees’ salaries to the minimum wage.

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