Tue, Aug

Is Assemblyman Gatto Smarter Than a One-Year-Old?

PERSPECTIVE - The state legislative chambers have been filled with the sounds of weeping and gnashing of teeth in the wake of State Controller John Chiang’s decision to halt the pay of lawmakers over failing to produce a balanced budget on time as required by Proposition 25.

Perhaps the most anguished cry came from Assemblyman Mike Gatto: “I now have to explain to my wife and daughter that we won’t be able to pay the bills because a politician chose to grandstand at our expense.”

According to biographical information available on the internet, Mike Gatto’s daughter is one-year-old.

Discussing finances with a thirteen-year-old is challenging enough, so how Mr. Gatto is going to break the bad news to his toddler is something he should share with a child psychologist.  He could traumatize the kid for life if he is not careful about it.

If he can figure out how to get his child to understand his personal budgetary woes, maybe he can educate his colleagues about the importance of a balanced state budget.

Not only would he be smarter than a one-year-old, he would be smarter than Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, who said Chiang acted “without clear legal authority. He has confused having the responsibility to cut checks with having the authority to be a judge and jury on the budget.” (Link)

Just who did Blumenfield think should make the decision over whether pay should be withheld -  the legislature?  That would appear to be a conflict of interest.

Who better to make the decision than the person with the responsibility of paying the state’s bills?

Lawmakers may challenge Chiang’s decision in court.  Maybe they will win, but, if they do, let this be a lesson never to trust a ballot measure designed to expand the powers of legislators.

(Paul Hatfield is a CPA and serves as Treasurer for the Neighborhood Council Valley Village.  He blogs at Village to Village and can be reached at:   [email protected] ) –cw

Tags: State Controller John Chiang, Assemblyman Mike Gatto, Chiang, Gatto, Blumenfield, Prop 25, budget, balanced budget

Vol 9 Issue 50
Pub: June 24, 2011