Thursday, August 14, 2008

Solving the state budget crisis

BY GINA PERRY
To avoid an embarrassing, drawn out legal battle between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the State Controller, our Legislature simply needs to do its job: Present the Governor with a budget. It is already overdue.
Regardless of how the media presents the issue, the California Legislature is in complete control of the state-employee salary-cut debacle. The Governor’s request that our legislators do their job in a timely fashion doesn’t seem unreasonable. What does seem unreasonable is their refusal to do so.

I can understand their dilemma. California is $15 billion in the red. And the solutions are ugly if you are an elected official whose job is dependent on your constituents being happy — devastating cuts to social services or tax increases.
But other solutions exist that would lessen our tax burden and increase state revenues. The problem is neither of these solutions is popular with our leftist-leaning Legislature.
Solution number one: Send all illegal aliens home. (In my desire to be unbiased, I suggest removing illegal aliens from all countries, not just those from Mexico.)
A study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimated that, in 2004, illegal immigrants cost the state of California close to $15 billion. (How short are we, again?)
Total uncompensated annual costs for education, health care and incarceration for illegal immigrants were estimated to be 10.5 billion: Education weighed in at $7.7 billion; health care outlays equaled $1.4 billion; and incarceration costs totaled $1.4 billion. (Why are illegal aliens who commit crimes not immediately deported?)
The costs of illegal immigration to the state are considerably higher when you add in special English instruction, school feeding programs, welfare benefits received by the children of illegal immigrants and welfare benefits for American workers displaced by illegal alien workers.
In May, in Los Angeles County alone, twenty-five percent of all welfare and food stamp benefits went directly to the children of illegal aliens, according to the Department of Public Social Services. Illegals collected over $19 million in welfare assistance and over $16 million in monthly food stamp allocations, totaling $432 million for the month.
Although illegal aliens are not generally eligible to collect public welfare benefits, an illegal alien may receive benefits under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and Food Stamps programs on behalf of his or her U.S. citizen child.
That’s not all. Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich estimates public safety costs at $220 million and healthcare costs at $400 million. He concludes that illegal immigrants cost County taxpayers over $1 billion a year. (Education is not included in his formula.)
To be fair, the FAIR report estimates state and local taxes paid by the unauthorized immigrant population at about $1.6 billion per year. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, approximately 2.5 million illegal aliens reside in California.
They have a sweet deal. If you or I were to go to Mexico illegally looking for work, we shouldn’t expect free health care, free food or a job. Illegal aliens in Mexico are routinely robbed, raped, beaten or killed, according to the Associated Press. Mexico classifies those who enter its borders illegally as felons subject to deportation or two years in prison. Mexico requires its military and police officers to enforce its immigration laws.
California could use a lesson in enforcement. In a July 22 article in The Daily Sound, Santa Barbara’s police chief acknowledged he’d rather quit the police force than enforce federal immigration laws in Santa Barbara. Until we change our attitude across the state, illegal aliens will have nothing to fear and everything to gain by coming to America — most pointedly, our never-ending financial aid.
At the same time, Mexico receives billions in remittance cash annually – all without spending a penny on unemployment benefits or lifting a finger to help its own people. According to the World Bank, approximately $13 billion in remittances were sent to Mexico last year from California alone.
Between 1846 and 1848, United States soldiers sacrificed their lives to free the territories now known as California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and western New Mexico, from Mexican control in the Mexican-American War. At that time, the sanctity of our borders and our way of life was at stake.
As we prepare our children to head back to underperforming and overcrowded public schools — the principals of which will undoubtedly ask us for additional funding — know that, according to the FAIR study, nearly 15 percent of the K-12 public school students in California are children of illegal aliens.
A parcel tax to raise revenue for schools has been suggested in Santa Barbara. It won’t solve the problem. Border enforcement and deportation will.
Of course, if you are averse to kicking the illegals out of California, there is solution number two: Approve offshore drilling and start counting the cash from increased oil revenues.
The bottom line in this budget stand-off forces a choice: Whose needs come first — those of the legal citizens of the State of California and the United States of America or the needs of Others (illegals and evironmentalists)? Sadly, it’s a choice the majority of our legislators are too cowardly to make.
One hundred sixty years ago, we won the War. It’s a shame we’re still losing the battle.

Gina Perry writes a political column for the Daily Sound that appears Thursdays. She can be reached at ginaperryinsb@gmail.com.

1 comment:

David Pritchett said...

Wow... so to this editorialist it is either accept illegal immigration OR accept more offshore oil development.

That is quite a reach for irrelevant cause and effect. Especially irrelevant because State of California collects just a fraction of the revenue rate that other States charge as a tax on offshore oil extraction.

Is this really the best writing Daily Sound can offer or solicit as a contribution??