Governator comes to town

Arnold Schwarznegger blew into town last week to let us all know that there are budget cuts coming to Cally-fornia. There emerged a rather amusing story of one of our city fathers at the meeting asking Arnold a question out of left field as to why he doesn’t support our right to own 50 caliber weaponry. Welcome to Redding Arnold! Anyway, the gist of the speech centered on a probable 10% cut to everything that the state funds. Sounds fair enough. Across the board. Everybody takes a hit.


Later that evening, after Arnold blew out again, we attended the Soup Supper of the local League of Women Voters. The speaker was Muffy Berryhill of the Shasta First 5 organization. This group is funded by the apparently never-declining cigarette tax. While they don’t fund pre-natal and early childhood programs directly, their purpose is to help organize and offer resources to those organizations in town that serve the very young. There is much more at their website: She had some statistical data that was disturbing.
Child in Shasta County
There are 10,441 children in Shasta County (2006 data)
4,340 (40%) live in single parent homes versus 24% statewide.
33% live in poverty, as defined as annual income of $20K or less for a family of 4.

My personal view is that, after national defense, ordinary government serves no higher purpose than overseeing the care of the helpless. The mentally ill, indigent elderly, and very young children. Our state taxes-and-spends loads of money. We can cut budgets across the board. It sounds fair enough, but I wonder. When we cut the programs that serve children, and specifically brain development, won’t we pay dearly for that later, when they grow to become (hopefully) productive citizens? Is that a budget expense, or really an investment?

Right now, Muffy says that children in our county born testing positive for Meth is down to about 5 or 6 a month. I don’t find that hard to believe. Plus other drugs and alcohol, probably. So lets say 50-60 children a year. How is that okay under ANY circumstances in our civilization? We pay now or we pay later.

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