The final measure of the six proposition budget bail-out is Proposition 1F which would forbid pay raises for officials when there is a projected deficit. Although the legislators who have spawned this nightmare ballot are purportedly the highest paid in the nation refusing to give them raises isn’t going to save any money, it just doesn’t spend any more. We’re not talking about keeping billions of dollars in the General Fund, either, just enough to make the gesture.
What is that gesture? The legislators want to show they understand we’re all suffering and we all must sacrifice. I won’t be getting a raise at work this year and neither will anyone else. Sacramento wants to show that they’re not going to get raises when times are hard too. I’d like to vote no just to spit in their face but really, why not just put it in the books?
What should happen is pay cuts, at least to bring California’s government salaries into line with the rest of the nation. Maybe dock pay, as many have suggested, when there’s a budget impasse. Others have proposed halting campaign contributions during budget stale-mates. These are good ideas, and much more effective than refusing to give the rich and well connected a raise during deficit years. Sacramento understands this and notice how these are not included in the proposition. I’ll suck it up and vote for the tossed bone but if anyone tries to rub my belly I’m taking the hand with me.
Image from the Sacramento Bee by Brian Baer.