85 days without a budget. The legislature passed one Friday night and the Governor is expected to sign it tomorrow. It is not a pretty budget, and most of the hard decisions have just been postponed. The economy is struggling; most would agree that we are in a recession. I have what is probably a “recession-proof” job. The worse the economy gets, the more crimes committed, and the more needed are my services. A sad commentary on our society, I am afraid.
The backlog in the comptroller’s office is tremendous, as one might expect, so it will be 2-3 weeks before I see my first paycheck. I haven’t seen a check in over 3 months, as of yesterday, but I have managed, due to planning, a lot of hard work in May and June in preparation for this expected disaster, and a lot of deferred purchases. I am one of the lucky ones. I have no mortgage and pay no rent. My Jeep was paid off last year. Most of my expenses are business-related.
We must “fix” the economic problems in this state. The California Prison Industry (and it is truly an industry) is the biggest drain on our budget. We house people for LIFE for stealing videos. We assume their housing and feeding, as well as their medical expenses, which as they get older, are significant. We are so over crowded, that we are sending our prisoners out-of-state. Thousands of prisoners are now housed in Oklahoma, Mississippi, and other states, which we pay for. Of course, we must pay for their first appeal of right, also. That’s my income, and others like me. One figure I heard is that during this budget impasse, the state incurred a debt of 6 million dollars for appellate attorneys, and there are just not that many of us. I will put together some statistics on what the prison industry is costing the taxpayers, in the hopes I can persuade some of you that the 3-strikes law was a VERY bad idea from its inception.
I am already planning for next June 30th.