Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sacramento's Not So Funny Money

So if it was late 1864 and you happened to be a resident of one of the remaining few regions left to the Confederate States of America, you might very well have gotten something very similar to what we've reproduced here. (Click on the document to enlarge.) It probably would have been a little more 19th century retro in appearance, with maybe a picture of Jefferson Davis or Robert E. Lee to dress it up a bit. But the purpose behind it would have been basically the same. Because what you are looking at is scrip issued by a failed government that cannot pay its debts.

Of course, this is California, and it is still very much 2009. And what we see here is the tax refund "check" issued by Sacramento and mailed to someone I know. Schoolteachers, such as my friend, are paid 10 months out of the year. And during those 2 months they have off they're pretty much on their own. But, and as many of them have learned, if you get an extension on paying your State income taxes, your refund check will arrive during the off season when you really need the scratch. And you use that money to live on until school is back in session. So imagine the surprise you would have experienced when you received this little beauty. Because, and as it says right on this document, you won't be cashing it until October. Summer job here we come. That is, if you can find one.

Now the official term for this item is not scrip, or funny money, or Confederate money, or even a "bag full of lottery tickets." Sacramento would never use terminology as crass as that. No, and as is usual when government screws up badly, neutral language must be crafted to make it seem like things aren't as bad as they really are. And in this case that neutral language is Registered Warrant. Here is how our State Controller defines it:

A registered warrant is a "promise to pay," with interest, that is issued by the State when there is not enough cash to meet all the State's payment obligations. Registered warrants are legally negotiable instruments that bear a maturity date of October 2, 2009. IOUs may be redeemed, with interest, by the State Treasurer on or after October 2, 2009 ... These IOUs are issued in the place of regular warrants, or checks. The interest rate, set by the State Pooled Money investment Board on July 2, 2009, is 3.75% per year.

3.75% per year? Talk about your sub-prime interest rate.

Of course, having money garnished from your paycheck because the State does not trust you to save up enough on your own to pay your income tax bill is bad enough. But to have it turn out that it is those who are taking that money who can't cover their debts, well, that might seem galling to some. Especially those stuck with temporarily useless paper like my friend. But our State government does not believe in equally shared obligation. These are people that, while paid by us, do not actually work for us anymore. They've taken on a life of their own.

So when Sacramento comes around to places like Sierra Madre to take away $300,000 in our property tax money, or our CRA money, or remove our rights to CEQA reviews of any potential toxic impact caused by State imposed redevelopment projects, or to tell us what we can and cannot include in our General Plan anymore, just remember one thing. They are the exact same people that couldn't find it in themselves to cover a schoolteacher's income tax refund check.

And as such are persons completely without honor.


  1. I think I'm going to have to start issued registered warrants
    to pay my taxes. Turnabout being fair play and all.

  2. excellent!Mass movement of like minded citizens would get their attention.If citizens don't step up to the plate as an organized mass,the nabobs will continue on their way...business as usual

  3. A further description of how draconian the redevelopment fund clawback is, and the CRA lawsuit against the state, is here


  4. I just hope people eventually get their money, Sir Eric.
    I don't trust the government.
    What would they do it we sent them IOU's for our taxes we owe?
    Wait! This may be a good idea......the prisons are full to capacity......they wouldn't put us in jail......hmmmmm....."tea party" anyone?

  5. Too many state workers.
    Too many pensions.
    Too many programs.
    Too much waste.
    Too many taxes.
    Too many laws.
    Too much corruption by the BIA and unions.
    Vote most of them out and start over including anyine who voted for SB375 (ANTHONY ADAMS)

  6. 8:09, not sure a Fox News created tea movement would do the trick...we might need a full on revolution.
    That's bad when they're stealing from teachers, and that's what it is because the teachers have already done the work they are not being paid for.

  7. Pasta,
    Anthony Adams is on our political hit list.
    Here is a man who doesn't live in Sierra Madre but publicly supported NO ON V. Then this politician, Adams, votes to approve SB 375.

    This "dirt" supporter was in our Forth of July parade. Joe Mosca's domestic partner, Matt Bosse, the parade "chairman" got Adams to be in the parade, but excluded the WWII vets from being the parade marshals, even though many people, including Mayor MacGillivray, who requested they be honored.

    Let's make sure we pay back Adams for voting for SB375 by voting against him in Sierra Madre....he deserves to lose our support, he needs to be retired from office next election.

  8. Sierra Madre business ownerJuly 28, 2009 at 8:53 AM

    I kid you not.

  9. The Recall Adams campaign started over his siding with the Democrats over a tax increase question. Adding his support for SB375 would definitely widen their appeal. Plus it would be a great way of getting the word out on this awful piece of legislation

  10. Maybe if we run off all the illegal aliens and replace them with non-violent prisoners of the state. Chain gangs of Idiots picking lettuce in the Salinas Valley, shoplifters bussing tables at El Torito et al. Now after a while Mr. Crook starts thinking "if I boost that stereo I might end up bumpin' drywall in a striped uniform, laziness trumps greed! That would diminnish the clout of the prison guard union and allow our wayward youth 18 months in the sunshine in one fell swoop.

    P.S. repeal prop 13 and rewrite it so it applies to everyone when they turn 65.
    Truly, Local Yokel

  11. I think prop 13 should not apply to commercial property, and make churches pay property tax!

  12. Sacramento is InsaneJuly 28, 2009 at 11:25 AM

    I agree Curly "turnabout is fair play."does this mean the teacher gets to write a "registered warrant" to pay all his bills including the City of Sierra Madre Water, the extra UUT on the SCal Edison, and the property taxes? Or perhaps Joe, John and Adams could loan some money so their family could get by for the next few months.

    Such Goodfellas, huh?

  13. Recall Joe almost workedJuly 28, 2009 at 11:33 AM

    Wonder how many recalls are going on in our state right now.

  14. John and Ken on KFI are pushing for the recall. Email them about SB 375.

  15. johnandken@kfi640.com

  16. usually the folks driving recalls are tax activists. lots of reasons for this, one being it is just an easier sell. the citizens get it. the pols who push garbage like sb375 depend on people finding it too complicated to bother with.

  17. Thanks for the link Sierra Madrean, I think I'll send those old boys and email.....tell them what we think of old Adams here on the Tattler.

  18. I find it disturbing that this teacher got stiffed on the tax return.....why are some people getting the vouchers and some aren't?
    I would like to know if the legislators in Sacramento are getting these vouchers?
    Why would I not be surprised if they ARE NOT?

  19. The big question for tonight...will John and Joe get laughed out of City Hall for insisting that we need to spend $300K on a General Plan consultant?

  20. I would hope they would have about as good a chance as Kurt Zimmerman and Don Watts did, asking that the Measure V approved without going to the expense of an election, not to mention all it cost everyone...including the dirts.
    Thanks, Joe Mosca, this is all YOUR FAULT.
    I hope you get voted down tonight and none of your dirt pals get on the GPC.

  21. hey carol, i'll give ya' .50 cents on the dollar for that warrant right now..cash money..whad'ya say?

  22. Good City Council meeting tonight.
    General Plan Committee named.
    Good people.

  23. Gee, now why would John and Joe want a realtor from Arcadia on our General Plan committee. Hmm...

  24. anonymous July 28 10:34 pm :
    What Arcadia realtor did the notorious two want on the general plan commitee?? I am curious.

  25. I think the man was named Davies, anyone remember. I had never seen him before.
    The Sierra Madre realtor was Carol Canterbury of the Judy Webb Martin gang of realtors.
    Carol was just doing her job......remember the C.A.R.s handbook, telling realtors to get on committees and commissions so they could do the bidding of the BIA, SCAG and related groups who are destroying cities all over California.

  26. I recall the name Tim Johnson.

  27. I think you're right, 7:00 am.
    I recall that name mentioned now.
    I recall the Mayor telling us there were 10 applicants for the 5 spots.

  28. Didn't hear too many names of the dirtian persuasion. They either knew it was pretty futile, or they're completely demoralized.


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