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Only our officials seem surprised

October 07, 2008

Re "State may need to ask U.S. for $7-billion loan," Oct. 3

The Times' recent front-page story on California's supposedly unanticipated need to borrow money from the federal Treasury leads me to wonder how our state's elected officials could have been surprised by California's dismal cash position.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's communications director, Matt David, attributes the "perfect storm" to three causes: the current liquidity crisis, the late budget and this year's revenue shortfall.

It seems to me that observers of the financial markets have predicted tightening credit and a slowing economy since March, that the revenue shortfall has been widely predicted all year and that the budget has been late every year in recent memory. The weather report on this storm has been alarmingly clear for six months, but we have stayed in town, in the hurricane's path, despite dire warnings. We have nobody to blame but ourselves.

We as California taxpayers have been ignoring the three real reasons for this fiscal crunch: insufficient income and lack of political will to raise taxes, Proposition 13 and excessive use of borrowing against future revenue to pay current obligations. Why should a creditor buy our bonds if we refuse to increase our income, through taxation, to pay them off?

Bob Crocker

Eagle Rock

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Governor: Start living within a budget as the rest of us must. Cut useless spending. Cease pandering to special-interest groups. Get back to basics for state expenditures: police, fire, roads, education. What else is necessary?

S.S. McDonald

McAlpin, Calif.

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