<%3Fxml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"%3F> Canadian cialis pills » Canadian Pharmacy NO Prescription. at the campuses of the University of California.  They are waving signs such as “Don’t take our education away”, and “affordable education for all”.  As an alumna of UC Berkeley, here is what I think about the issue.

First of all, I think that these students are just unlucky to be attending the UC system during the worst recession in several generations.  The California government operates on boom and bust cycles.  If you look at the historic tuition in the UC system, you will see that tuition has actually  gone down before in the late 90s because the economy was booming.  When I attended UC Berkeley in 2001, I was actually paying less than a student who attended in 1994 if you account for inflation.  In fact, I met an alumnus who graduated in the early 90s later on at an internship and he was really surprised that my tuition was just a little bit above his.  Basically, I was lucky and graduated before the major fee increases started.  The fact of the matter is that the state spends everything they have got when they are flush with money, and pretty much falls flat on its face when it is without money.  Right now, the state is just flat out broke.  The biggest problem here is that the tuition was not raised incrementally, and now the 32% increase is felt particularly hard by this group of students.  This is not the fault of the universities, but the state government in charge of the money.

Now, are the schools still affordable?  As of now, I think the UC tuition of approximately $10000 per year is still quite affordable if you compare how much an equivalent education at a private school costs.  UC Berkeley still has the top ranked engineering school in the country, and $10,000 a year is much less than $36,000 at MIT.  Similarly, the other UC campuses have some of the highest ranked programs in the country, and still cost 1/2 or  1/3rd of many private schools.  I actually think that the UCs were just too damn cheap for what they offer.  Even now, I think tuition at an UC would be less than what I will spend on childcare next year and I am not waving a sign that says “affordable childcare for all”.   Considering that UC graduates get paid comparable salaries as graduates of the ivies,  I still think that the UCs offer a great bang for the buck.

What really concerns me is that a lack of money could decrease the quality of the UC system.  If great professors, academics, and researchers no longer wanted to work at the UCs due to all the salary cuts and furloughs and the high cost of living in California then the education of many future young Californians will suffer.  I have no idea how much the schools will cost in 18 years when my baby goes to college, but if the quality of the schools go down then they might not be worth what they are charging. Perhaps in 18 years California will be in another boom cycle and the tuition will go down?

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]]> http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/11/19/is-the-university-of-california-still-affordable/feed/ 2 Canadian cialis pills » Canadian Pharmacy NO Prescription. http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/07/02/californians-what-can-you-do-with-an-iou/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/07/02/californians-what-can-you-do-with-an-iou/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2009 05:44:40 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/07/02/californians-what-can-you-do-with-an-iou/ It is already July, and I wrote about  a week ago did not end up passing.  Now California is starting to issue IOUs for many of its obligations.  These IOUs are actually called “registered warrants”, and they will yield a 3.75% annual interest rate.  The state plans to repay them in October.  So what happens if you receive one?

Apparently many IOUs would be sent to residents who are still owed a tax refund.  Many small businesses that sell to the state will also receive them.  A full list of the various agencies and groups that will be paid. Right now the large banks such as Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo are willing to cash the IOUs for customers.  However, this only lasts until July 10th, so this means that if you need the money now you better hope that you receive your IOU before then and get it to the bank.

It is also possible to sell the IOU to other lenders and investors.  Afterall, whoever holds the IOU at the time of maturity will collect the interest accrued. There is a risk of default from the state, but I can see some people getting into the business of buying up IOUs from people who need the cash.  Most likely these folks will pay less than the value of the IOU since they want to make a profit.

If you do not need the cash right away it might be best just to hold on to the IOU because the interest accrued is not taxable.  3.75% tax free is a lot better than any CDs and bank accounts out there now, but it really means nothing if you need to pay your bills right now.

I hope that the state gets its act together by July 10th because otherwise many people may have to resort to less safe venues to cashing their IOUs.   Small businesses may not even be able to survive without the ability to keep the lights on and making payroll.  Needless to say, this is a complete debacle, and I hope it does not cause too much damage.  Additionally, this round of IOUs for those who have a tax refund is further proof that it is better to owe the government money.  If you are in this group it is probably a good idea to withhold less from your checks.

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Canadian cialis pills » Canadian Pharmacy NO Prescription. http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/06/24/another-reason-to-hate-california-california-state-budget-shenanigans/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/06/24/another-reason-to-hate-california-california-state-budget-shenanigans/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2009 08:00:51 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/06/24/another-reason-to-hate-california-california-state-budget-shenanigans/ I have found that I like the LA Times’ reporting a lot more than the SF Chronicle’s.  Today on Sacramento’s plan on how to balance the state budget, and some of it is truly hilarious.  Here is a short summary.

  • State workers’ June paycheck would be paid on July 1st, thus pushing $1.2 billion of expenses into the next fiscal year.  Umm… this saves money how?
  • $1.7 billion of school funding would be delayed until the next fiscal year.  Once again, this is another paper fix
  • Withhold 10% more taxes from every working Californian starting Jan 1st 2010.  This is essentially an attempt to collect almost $2 billion in taxes in advance.  What prevents people from changing their withholdings and owe the state money even with a 10% increase?
  • 3% tax withholding on payments to independent contractors.  This is another gimmick to advance tax payments, but the independent contractors could get the money back if they don’t owe 3%.
  • $1 billion proposed money grab on local gasoline tax revenues.  This is already being fought by the League of California Cities with a lawsuit.
  • $1.50 per pack extra taxes on cigarettes.  When New York imposed a huge hike of taxes on each pack of cigarettes some simply bought cigarettes with lower taxes from other states and imported them to New York and made a profit by selling them at the tax inclusive rate.  I’m guessing some Nevadans or Oregonians will be into this business in California now.
  • Illegal immigrants in prisons are being sent to immigration to be deported.  They really should have done this years ago.  Isn’t this really common sense?

A lot of these attempts to delay or advance payments really add nothing to the bottom line.  In fact, I think some of them would backfire.  For example, if you usually get a state tax refund now, perhaps it is time to change your withholdings so that you end up owing money at the end of the year because the state is trying to milk more money out of you this year anyway.  Also we all know that the state delayed refund payments for months and months this year so why should they receive your money early?  Chances are this would happen again if they do not change the fundamentals of how they are operating.    If enough people change their withholding strategy then this advance grab of tax dollars would not work at all.  If you calculate your withholdings correctly it is possible to owe just enough to not have to pay a penalty.

I’m kind of annoyed to see that a lot of the original proposed cuts on some social programs are gone and all of these gimmicks are going on.  So they are pushing one month’s salary into the next year, what will they do the next year?  Push the salaries again?  Soon enough state worker’s will be getting their pay budgeted for years into the future.  That’s pretty pointless.

I really do not mind paying taxes if it is being used responsibly, but it does not seem like the government knows how to manage money properly.  Add that to the fact that Californians themselves control the law making proposition system you just get a complete mess.   Of course noone wants to cut education, healthcare, and freebies, and of course noone wants to increase taxes.  So what you have left over is a very dysfunctional state and another reason to hate California.

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Canadian cialis pills » Canadian Pharmacy NO Prescription. http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/05/20/will-there-be-a-federal-bailout-for-california/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/05/20/will-there-be-a-federal-bailout-for-california/#comments Wed, 20 May 2009 18:53:01 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/05/20/will-there-be-a-federal-bailout-for-california/ The Golden States is not so glittery right now.  It seems that the special election yesterday went just as I expected, the propositions to extend taxes, borrow from the lottery, and divert funds were all rejected.  The only thing that passed was 1F, which restricts raises on state legislators, and this would not save much money at all.  So now what?  Many are saying that California will need a federal bailout since the state is facing a $21 billion deficit.  Here are some of my thoughts on the issue.

My feelings on a federal bailout is somewhat mixed.  First of all, I feel that Californians deserve some payback from the federal government because for years we have been paying more taxes than what we get back.  As I have written before, the Tax Foundation estimates   This has been going on for many years, and California’s GDP is by far the largest in the Union, so perhaps California deserves to be bailed out due to its contributions to this nation.

Of course, if the bailout happens due to the reason I cited above, then other states like New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey may just line up for a bailout as well since they have also been getting a lot less federal money back than what they put in.  All the other states would of course be quite furious.  The bailout may also make California more dependent on the federal government, and that
is never a good thing.

One big reason why I would be against such a bailout is that California’s main problem comes down to the simple fact that the entire system is living beyond its means and throwing more money at it is not the solution.  The legislators do not seem to know how to budget for the future.  It seems that the budgets are based on an assumption that things are always going up, and as a result programs are established in the boom years and never cut in the lean years.  Californian voters also hate to cut any services they already have and also hate taxes so the balance between income and spending becomes out of whack.

Someone at the top has to look at the state programs right now line by line and
cut anything that looks redundant and useless. The state’s credit ratings are not exactly stellar so the only choice is to cut things as soon as possible.  I actually support Governor Schwartzenegger’s effort to cut services and state employees right now because there is really no other choice.  In lean times like these individual families live without luxuries such as eating out or even birthday presents, and the state needs to do the same.
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Canadian cialis pills » Canadian Pharmacy NO Prescription. http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/02/26/10000-tax-credit-for-californians-who-purchase-a-brand-new-home/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/02/26/10000-tax-credit-for-californians-who-purchase-a-brand-new-home/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2009 23:17:11 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/02/26/10000-tax-credit-for-californians-who-purchase-a-brand-new-home/ Apparently, as part of the new budget that increased taxes on everyone there is a tax credit for people who purchase brand new homes.  This means that the home cannot be occupied previously by anyone.  This seems like it would be a boost to home builders.

Here are the specifics:

1) The home has to be brand new, but the tax credit applies to all buyers who intend to live in the home.  You do not have to be a new  homebuyer to qualify.

2) There is no income limit to qualify for this tax credit.

3) You have to close escrow on the home between March 1, 2009 and Feb 28, 2010.

4) There is a total of $100 million assigned to this credit, so that means only 10000 homes will qualify.  It is first come first serve by closing date.

5) You have to live in the home for at least 2 years and you will receive the $10000 in 3 installments of around $3,333 each for the next three years.

6) This tax credit can be combined with the Federal Tax credit of $8000 for new home buyers.

This tax credit actually makes me quite angry because right now California is not even paying tax refunds to people who qualify.  Now they want to use all this extra money to help home builders sell homes?

Additionally, there is a very small supply of new homes here in the Bay Area so I do not see this helping many people here.  This is definitely beneficial to some friends we know in Southern California, where the markets have a glut of new homes that are not selling.

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