Get Awarded $132,000 for Failing to Pass a State Budget

Questions arise over plum jobs for pols

At a time when one in 12 Californians is unemployed, home prices are in the gutter and our portfolios a mess, lawmakers did nothing about California's $11 billion dollar budget deficit.

But they got paid well and some even got promotions.

What a waste of time and money by the State Legislature.

California taxpayers shelled out more than $17,000 for Tuesday's political budget drill at the capitol, where most lawmakers collected $173 in daily expenses but accomplished nothing.

In the business world, if top company officials consistently failed in their fiscal forecasts, they'd probably be fired.

But in the political world surrounding the Capitol, politicians who fail are routinely rewarded and given raises.

Outgoing Assembly Budget Chair John Laird couldn't strike a budget compromise but that didn't stop Assembly Speaker Karen Bass from appointing him to the integrated waste management board, where he'll make $132,000 a year.

He'll be joined by termed out Senator Sheila Kuehl of Los Angeles who was just named to the same board by outgoing Senate President Don Perata.

"I think it's outrageous that at the same time many of these legislators are saying we need additional revenues, they are now being transported to these plum positions on these boards that serve no useful function," said Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

The board promotes recycling and Laird says he's a good fit.

"It deals with plastics into the ocean that i've been working on and methane recovery," Laird said.

Ironically Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's California Performance Review Project recommended eliminating the board to save money but that idea has gone nowhere.

"This is where people go after they are termed out," said Michael Murray, a visitor to the Capitol."They go to this for $132,000 and it's kind of fishy, I guess. Sounds fishy, might smell fishy."

Contact Us