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Calif. Speaker's solution for state deficit: U.S. taxpayers chip in billions

November 13, 2008 |  7:59 am

Not that many people outside of California care, but according to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state faces a nearly $25 billion budget deficit.

As the rich man that he is, the former movie star favors everybody else helping out by making his state's sales tax the No. 1 biggest, averaging 9.5%.

According to the nonpartisan legislative analyst, Mac Taylor, the state's deficit will actually be closer to $28 billion in the next 20 months. That's a lot of money, even at California prices; more money even than Barack Obama raised to get elected president.

Calif Democrat Speaker suggests US taxpayers help cover her state's deficit with billions

Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, a Los Angeles Democrat, has drawn up a partial solution anyway: Federal money.

Use some of those Wall Street taxpayer $700 billion bailout bucks on California!

Bass has urged the federal government to hand over the money to states -- well, her state anyway -- as well as those rich Wall Street banks in another coastal state. Why should New York get it all?

With federal money it won't really cost anything, see? And she won't have to explain voting for more taxes back home come next election. It's the least Americans can do for the sunshiney state they love to hate.

"We think that with the state of California about to go over a cliff," Bass says, "we ought to be part of the bailout as well. Can we have $5 billion or $10 billion?"

Handing out that much federal money to the most populous state that can't balance its own budget is probably O.K. with the rest of the country, don't you think? How could anyone possibly object in any of those other puny places?

--Andrew Malcolm

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