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Sen. Cogdill's budget message

September 10, 2008

Re "We're not budget obstructionists," Opinion, Sept. 6

Even as an unswerving (until now) Republican voter, I was dumbfound at state Senate GOP leader Dave Cogdill's disingenuous justification of the current Republican stance on the state budget.

It was far more remarkable for what it omitted than for what it said. Among other banalities, Cogdill (R-Modesto) wrote about "... selling off hundreds of thousands of dollars in surplus properties" -- wow, that should really fix the problem -- but made no mention of the additional borrowing proposed by the Republicans to close a substantial portion of the $15-billion budget gap.

Maybe we should retitle Cogdill's job "Republican community organizer in the state Senate." Where is the leadership? Yes, we all dislike taxes, but we need to live within our means. We're in a mess, so let's fix it now, even if we have to pay for it from our own pockets.

Peter Vincent

Los Angeles

Cogdill's Op-Ed article is written in newspeak, but even I, an ongoing ESL student, can provide a translation that is easy to understand for the common folk.

"[Freeing] school districts from burdensome mandates" means cutting more funding from schools. "Providing workers with flexible workweeks" means turning full-time jobs with benefits into part-time jobs without. "Selling off ... surplus property" to "maximize every taxpayer dollar" could mean making a quick buck to close a budget hole while giving up greater profits in the future, and "[partnering] with private industry to accomplish vital public works projects" means outsourcing well-paying jobs with benefits to private enterprise (again, which may not provide benefits).

Perhaps obstructionism isn't the Republicans' problem, but obfuscation is.

Werner Wassileff

San Diego

Cogdill claims that he is not stuck on ideology. But his no-tax mantra comes straight out of Grover Norquist's playbook -- the part where he wants government reduced to the size at which it can be drowned in a bathtub.

Cogdill makes no attempt to restore California's progressive tax system. Instead, he wants to fix deteriorating infrastructure through sleight of hand. Does he think Californians will not be "taxed" when state infrastructure projects are built through so-called public-private partnerships? Or is his real goal to find new profit centers for corporate CEOs?

It is time to ramp up the estate tax, to develop a more progressive tax system and, dare I say it, fix the flaws in Proposition 13. We cannot continue to rely on sin taxes on alcohol, cigarettes, casino gambling and the lottery to pay an increasing share of our statewide services.

Richard Dickinson


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