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State budget hardball

February 11, 2009

Re "3 tough steps to fiscal sanity," Column, Feb. 9

Frankly, I don't think George Skelton goes far enough.

I would suggest that we consider the following steps: First, make Sen. Abel Maldonado's (R-Santa Maria) decree of "No budget, no pay, no per diem" statewide law through a ballot proposition. It may not get through the Legislature, but I'll bet my wasted tax dollars the public would approve it.

Second, allow a simple majority to pass a budget.

Last, establish that if more than three propositions appear on any ballot, that would be affirmative proof that legislators are not doing their jobs -- and would prohibit them from seeking statewide office again.

Arthur D. Kraus

Los Angeles

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Skelton's solution to California's budget problems misses the point. The proposed solution of lowering the two-thirds threshold would only increase state spending and taxation. The two-thirds majority was established to avoid excessive spending and consequent taxation.

To survive in industry, businesspeople make difficult choices daily, resulting in layoffs and significant cutbacks in expenses, until better times materialize.

Out-of-control state spending, bloated and overpaid bureaucracies and excessive pensions are the real causes of this crisis, and cannot be sustained.

Considering the serious economic climate, let's look at the cruel reality and have the state commission a panel of independent, well-recognized economists to determine the long-term economic effects of operating the state, county and city governments as they currently are -- and to recommend the painful, long-term steps these agencies must eventually take to avoid bankruptcy.

O. Larsen

Winnetka

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