Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Another California Billion Dollar Boondoggle

Written by  Martha Montelongo

Voters beware the salesmen who come with hat in hand, pitching shiny or miraculous services and benefits for a bargain bottom price and the promise of a profit. Your wallets and blank checks are their target.

With a ballooning price tag and doubts about federal funding, it is increasingly obvious that voters were sold a bill of goods by the backers of California’s high-speed train to nowhere....

“More grim news on $99 billion high-speed rail plan, as showdown looms” — San Jose Mercury News

“The price tag for this risky transit gamble is now nearly $100 billion — more than twice the original estimate,” — FoxandHoundDaily.com

George Runner, a member of California’s Board of Equalization and a former state Senator, in a post on an influential California political blog on November 8, said: “The new number is greater than California’s entire annual state budget. To fund the entire project today, every Californian, including men, women and children, would need to write a check for more than $2500.”

When backers of high-speed rail pitched the idea to California voters in 2008, they told Californians this project would pay for itself and even turn a profit in a few years. Today, three years and $60+ billion in higher cost projections later, it’s pretty clear backers weren’t being straight with California voters.

A similar dynamic exists with another measure, this one on the June 2012 ballot.

The so called California Cancer Research Act (CCRA) would increase taxes by nearly a billion dollars on Californians, to pay for another new government spending program and brand new bureaucracy to oversee it.

The CCRA’s backers — including one career politician who is behind the measure — are making a bunch of promises about the measure’s benefits.

Sound familiar?

Whether it’s high-speed trains or the latest tax-and-spend program with big-time benefits promised, Californians should have learned one thing about ballot measures by now: The promises are almost always too good to be true.

Martha Montelongo is a radio talk show host, blogger, and columnist in Santa Cruz, California.

Photo: California State Capitol, Sacramento

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