If you have been watching from the sidelines as a non-liberal, you cannot help but be concerned about the downward spiral of unsustainability in California. An example:
Just this month, the legislators in Sacramento continued to expand the social net, now offering “free health care”to people who illegally cross our state border.
Who will pay for it? Well, the working taxpayers of this state, who can barely afford their own health insurance. Never mind that our community’s homeless camps are spreading and few affordable housing options are available for our own citizens.
Have any Santa Barbarans visited sanctuary cities like L.A.’s skid row or the Tenderloin District in San Francisco? Have our local representatives, Cathy Murillo, Monique Limon and Hannah-Beth Jackson, contributed to or helped solve this crisis that grows in this state daily? Or are they too busy being concerned with federal issues, like asking illegal immigrants if they are citizens on a census next year, or oil pipelines in the Dakotas?
California taxpayers, who are not one of the many “hidden millionaires”now living on government pensions, are caught in a cycle of legislators who become benefactors of the government union members, who vote as a bloc and return them to office. Union dues pay for campaigns that often mislead voters by playing on their emotions, promising benefits from their candidates that are not viable but sound good.
A crowd mentality seems to carry the fiscally unaware pong-pong balls of liberal voters down the river of perpetuation. In reality, all tax increases come down to:
Funding government union pensions or the bankruptcy of city services and residents. Remember this, voters, the next time you have a chance to vote for taxes, as you watch other fees go up on gasoline, cigarettes, sugared drinks, alcohol, parking, ticket violations, ambulance services, safety inspections and permits, to name a few.
Regarding contractual promises: We love you, firefighters, law enforcement officers and teachers, we respect you, and all depend on you doing your job responsibly. We just can’t keep paying for all the wage increases coupled with all the benefits as you retire at 55, then try to hire and pay for your replacement, too.
Contractual promises made years ago can no longer be kept without bankrupting the city. Reasonable adjustments must be made now to union contracts, just like adjustments must be made regarding Social Security payments as the baby boomers keep retiring and deplete the fund. In both cases, small adjustments made now could have huge future beneficial impact for those who come after. Legislators must step up and lead.
In spite of the above, I cannot expect our locally elected political leaders, almost totally from the Democratic Party, to suddenly be replaced by independents or conservatives any time soon. However, as my representatives, I expect you to not just smile and act like members of a political club. I expect you to begin addressing the meaty, large fiscal issues that confront our city and our state, not just nibble around the edges. I want you to protect the economic well-being of the legal citizens of this state who are suffering and to act responsibly on their behalf. As you honestly look into the future, we need you to think, make hard choices and show some true leadership, independent of the standard party line.
The author lives in Santa Barbara.