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With a deficit like this ...

Original post made by Gern Blanston, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks, on Feb 2, 2009

Who in their right mind would advocate spending tens of billions of dollars on high speed rail when the state is facing a projected $25 billion budget gap in 2009-2010 alone? Madness, I say:

NEW YORK ( -- Running short of cash, California has started delaying $3.5 billion in payments to taxpayers, contractors, counties and social service agencies.

With the governor and state lawmakers locking horns on resolving California's budget crunch, the controller Monday halted checks covering these obligations so the state could continue funding its school system and making its debt payments.

The delay will inflict more pain on the already sorry condition of the Golden State, which is facing a $40 billion budget gap. People won't have tax refund money to spend, businesses won't get paid for their services and agencies won't have funds to help the needy until the budget situation is addressed.

Nearly $2 billion in personal state income tax refunds are being held up, according to state estimates. Last year, some two million Californians received refunds in February.

"People are going to be hurt starting today," said Garin Casaleggio, a spokesman for Controller John Chiang.

Also on hold are $515 million in payments to the state's vendors and $280 million to help people with developmental disabilities. Other public assistance agencies will be left waiting for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders are behind closed doors trying to hammer out a solution to the state's budget crisis, which also includes a $15 billion budget deficit for 2008-2009 and a projected $25 billion gap for 2009-2010. The governor has proposed draconian spending cuts in virtually every department, as well as hefty tax increases, to close the widest deficit in its history.

Comments (8)

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Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Feb 3, 2009 at 9:26 am

The roof is leaking. The basement is flooding. The plumbing is broken. The house needs a major repair job. We are in deep financial doo-doo. We may not be able to make the next mortgage payment.

Hey, honey, how about we borrow money and go out and buy a Ferrari?

Like this comment
Posted by observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 3, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Martin Engel writes:

"Hey, honey, how about we borrow money and go out and buy a Ferrari?

Hey Martin, don't think small... think "Let's build a High Speed Train" -- its only going to cost around $100 billions.

Like this comment
Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 3, 2009 at 8:43 pm

It is an investment. Not spending for spending's sake.

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Posted by What a waste
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 3, 2009 at 9:39 pm

It's spending for the sake of politics. It's an investment only if we can time travel back to 1890 or so, when trains still represented the future instead of the past.

Like this comment
Posted by FormerMPer
a resident of another community
on Feb 5, 2009 at 6:37 am

I guess none of you ever leave Menlo Park. High speed rail is widely used in Europe and Japan. But I forgot, you are the same people who didn't vote for BART.

Like this comment
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 5, 2009 at 8:01 pm

We're Californians. Nothing makes us happier than borrowing huge amounts of money to be wasted on politicians and their friends.

Next time you see a child, apologize for their stolen future...

Like this comment
Posted by half baked rail
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 5, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Railroad operators in the US aren't allowed to use the same kind of train cars that the HSR operators use in Europe and Japan. That's one reason that Acela has been such a fiasco.

Anyone else see the impartial legislative analysis of the HSR status? The project is full of holes, and non-compliant with the requests that the legislature has made. It will be interesting to see if anyone in our state legislature looks at the analysis. Looks pretty damning for the HSR folks.

Like this comment
Posted by Ina Line
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Feb 7, 2009 at 9:53 am

No problem here in Calif. "Hey! How long is the wait at the DMV now?"

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