The California Budget Crisis Hits Home
This was an original post for LA Moms Blog on July 28, 2009. SV Moms Blog was acquired by Technorati, so I post my archives here on Fridays.
Thank me the next time you use a state-funded service. Better yet, thank my husband. Chances are, his sacrifice is helping to pay for the operating hours of the DMV, or your unemployment check, or to keep the lights on at the governor’s mansion.
The California Faculty Association just voted to approve a 10% pay cut for faculty at the California State University system over the next academic year. My husband has been a tenured faculty member since we met – in fact, one of our first dates was the reception for newly tenured professors at the university president’s house. Talk about a way to impress a girl. Over the years he’s done research and written papers, representing his institution in the advancement of technology. He’s fostered the education of hundreds of students who have gone on to do great things in their own careers.
Now the state has reduced their funding to the CSU system. Rather than risk having members lose their jobs, the CFA has approved salary reductions across the board. I could rant in this post about how that move makes the whole lot of them suffer, when instead they could seize the opportunity to get rid of employees who are not good at their jobs – a rare occasion within a union, to be sure.
But this post is not about them. This post is about my family, and how we are unwillingly throwing an extra pile of cash into the state’s pot, so we can all be mediocre together. Why strive for merit increases when you’re just going to get a salary cut at the top of your career because your employer can’t manage its money? There’s no incentive to do well, to advance in your field, to do research or strive for greatness for your school.
This news is a double whammy for my family. I was laid off at the beginning of the summer and haven’t been able to successfully collect unemployment for the brief time between then and when I started a part time temporary day job while I look for work in my field. The unemployment office is overwhelmed and understaffed and can’t seem to process my application in an efficient manner.
Recently I was featured in the Los Angeles Times because my new situation meant I had to reduce our children’s days at their daycare. The daycare suffers. I laid off our cleaning lady – she suffers. Now we’ll lay off our gardener, and he will suffer. Where will it end? When will California’s legislators throw their share of cash into the pot, this pot that they themselves have so carelessly emptied with their infighting and backstabbing and unwillingness to budge? Why must it be us who must budge?
I’m hoping that I’ll get a return phone call from the unemployment office pretty soon. After all, 10% of my husband’s salary is paying their phone bill.