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California Budget and Crime Tax

The California Legislature sent the Governator a budget that wasn't really balanced, so he line-item-vetoed close to half a billion dollars, reports Steve Wiegand in the SacBee. Not that the budget is truly balanced even with the vetoes, but it moves somewhat closer to reality.

Further cuts to prisons apparently weren't in the vetoes. The bill as passed, according to the SacBee, "Assumes [a] $1.2 billion cut [to prisons], but does not specify how the savings would be achieved. Democrats and Schwarzenegger are seeking changes to release thousands of prisoners to home detention and county jails."

But the county jails have their "no vacancy" signs lit, and the people who would monitor alternative detentions are already overmaxed, so in practice we are talking about unsupervised release here.

The budget has no express taxes, but the prison cuts will impose a sort of "crime tax" on the people who are the victims of the additional crimes. Those victims will, to use a favorite phrase of our friends on the political left, be "disproportionately poor and minorities," but the folks who usually screech about disparate impact apparently don't have a problem with it in this case.

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