Illustration by Joe Lai.
Illustration by Joe Lai.

The current state budget shortfall, projected at $28 billion through June of 2010, has left the Golden State feeling more like brass.

Many Californians feel neglected by both the national and state governments. We’ve watched our state legislature slash budgets for important programs and overlook budgetary concerns in areas like health care and education, and frankly we’re pissed off.

In an Oct. 11 letter to the California State Assembly, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger echoed the sentiment felt by many of his fellow Californians in his written veto of Assembly Bill 1176, which called for infrastructure financing in the city of San Francisco. Schwarzenegger wrote that he laments the fact that major state issues have been ignored by the Assembly — including water reform, prison reform and health care — while “unnecessary bills” continue to come across his desk for consideration.

In addition to the explicit message in the letter, the San Francisco Bay Guardian also reported finding a less conspicuous — and more blunt — declaration hidden within the message: spanning vertically down the side of his rejection, starting with line three, the first letters of each line of text spelled out “FUCK YOU.”

According to Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear, the secret message “was just a weird coincidence.” Accident or not, though, we commend the Governator for his not-so-secret inclusion of the response we’ve all made efforts to express — either under our breaths or very audibly — to state lawmakers and their frustrating inaction.

The state of California looks bleak and the legislature is not addressing a majority of the important issues we are facing. California was so desperate to find a source — any source — of funds that this summer it held a garage sale in Sacramento and literally pawned off everything from cameras to cabinets to cars on Californians in an effort to raise money.

The sale brought in about $1.5 million. It was a commendable profit, but only a drop in the bucket compared to our state deficit. It is time for the leaders in this state to recognize that California’s budget crisis is not going to fix itself, and neither are more garage sales.

What will fix the financial issues that face our state is a serious attitude change within the state legislation. It is time, like Schwarzenegger directed in the veto letter, for California legislators to focus on the core issues and systems that are sucking our state bankroll dry. Additionally, legislators need to stop whispering about “potential” sources of income, such as the legalization of medical marijuana, and start closely examining bills that could feasibly make a dent in our ever-growing deficit. Something big needs to happen, and it needs to happen fast.

In this time of economic desperation, it is important that public figures like Schwarzenegger call attention to our plight. The F-bomb may not be the most effective way to help us crawl out of this monetary rut, but it certainly helped to stimulate media attention and send a secretly serious message to legislators that the fun and games are over. For that, we bestow upon Governor Schwarzenegger a hearty “Fuck yes.”