We are encouraged by the latest evidence of a new fiscal discipline in Sacramento, where the eminences of the California state legislature meet to disburse the few coins still left in the public purse.
Humbled in its pension ambitions by an uncooperative Dow, which former Governor Gray Davis had assured them would be at 25,000 by now; hamstrung by catastrophic collapses in tax revenue; and hobbled by California’s “direct participation” initiatives, which by themselves consume some 85% of the state’s revenues; the legislators confront a $10 billion plus annual deficit, and, cognizant of their reduced stature, strive to save every last farthing with a renewed devotion to prudence and parsimony.
Admirable and ambitious in its zeal to avoid even the appearance of unnecessary expense, these solons have recently abjured a attempt by self-serving and scandalously insulting scoundrels to squander some $204,000 on enforcing — laugh at the riotous presumption — a ban on gifts from lobbyists to legislators. According to the Los Angeles Times:
Companies lobbying state lawmakers for favorable treatment can continue to shower them with tickets to Disneyland, Dodgers games and rock concerts after legislators scuttled a bill Thursday that would have banned such gifts.
Mind you, it is not the bill banning these gifts the legislature opposes — oh, no! Although such a law does not yet blot the books of law in this great state, an attempt has been made to create such a law, and such a law would be an admirable thing, were it not so confounded expensive, and so demonstrably superfluous. The LA Times explains:
Members of a state Senate committee cited the $204,000 annual cost of enforcing such restrictions among the reasons they abandoned the proposal.
Oh, brave senators! Tempted beyond the restraints of most men and women to demonstrate their probity by passing this demeaning restriction — as if any public servant in the state of the golden bear could be purchased, and purchased by trifles and favors at that — they demurred. California is not some Illinois, where governors sell senate seats for cash, nor New York, where governors extort ballgame tickets and obstruct justice, nor North Carolina, where senators and Vice-Presidential candidates pay off mistresses with campaign contributions: no! This is the state whose motto is “Eureka!”
Alas, “eureka” means “I have found it.” And it’s a wonderfully ironic motto for this legislature, to express its corruption, its craven cupidity, and its coarse and careless disregard for the calamity it has inflicted on the people who elected them. When confronted with the opportunity to make illegal that which should have always been illegal, these assholes could only respond with: “I have lost it.”