Wednesday, December 22, 2010

HSR in the context of California's financial situation

Here's some background reading. The first two paragraphs give you a sense of what the situation is:

California's FY2011 $86.6 billion state budget was passed on Oct. 8, 2010, 100 days late, the latest its ever been[1] It was the 23rd time in 24 years that the legislature has missed the budget deadline.[2] The state faced an estimated $19.1 billion deficit, after trimming billions of dollars from state spending last year and temporarily raising some taxes.[3][4] Financial expert, Meridith Whitney, has ranked California as being in the worst financial condition.[5]

California has a total state debt of $290,855,041,516. when calculated by adding the total of outstanding debt, pension and OPEB UAAL’s, unemployment trust funds and the 2010 budget gap.[7]

And below is the URL for a segment from CBS's 60 Minutes. It's about 13 minutes long, a discussion of the condition of every state's financial picture, including California's. The question is, what will Jerry Brown cut from the annual budget to reduce the deficit, and how will he reduce the debt. He's already started by cutting the office of the Inspector General.

Is this a good time to continue to hemorrhage around a million dollars per day on the high-speed rail? It does not seem likely that the state will ever be able to pay off the Proposition 1A bonds, as those dollars add to the state debt. The "free" ARRA stimulus funds for HSR will cost us, dollar for dollar, plus interest.

You really need to watch this video.