So the State of California is officially broke. According to the Raw Story, after the legislature and the governor again failed to reach a compromise bridging the 40+ billion dollar budget gap, the government is officially out of money. Effective immediately, the state will not disburse any funds for college scholarship grants, county social services, and the highway patrol. Furthermore, Californians will not receive their state tax returns until this is resolved. According to sify.com, if this is not resolved by the end of the month the government will be completely out of cash. As a result of the immediate cuts, there’s an unprecidented level of county-level push-back, as it is the counties who administer the social services. The Sacramento Bee reports that county governments, which collect property taxes for the State, are threatening to withhold funds until the State agrees to meet its (now unfunded) obligations to them. One has to wonder, what with California’s unemployment rate already at 9.3%, what that number will be when all of the low paid human services peons (I’m one in VT) are out of work. In Bakersfield, CA, budget cuts could potentially eliminate 1100 of the 1500 jobs in their county’s department of Human Services. Never mind what will happen when all of the folks who’ve become dependent on that system suddenly stop receiving services.
One aspect of this situation that I find especially interesting is the fact that the State has threatened to issue IOUs for tax returns, and has negotiated with banks, trying to convince them to accept the IOUs as deposits. In essence, the broke government of CA is in such dire straits that they don’t have the luxury of waiting for the inflation-funded Federal bailout to bring them back to solvency. As such, they’re trying to do an end run around the Federal money monopoly and directly inflate themselves out of their predicament. California’s always been a step or two ahead of the rest of America; if things continue as they have been, this might become a common occurrence.