(Updated October 7, 2012)
California broke? Around two years ago I proposed in a blog post that citizens and non-citizens of the State of California donate their unused gift cards to balance California’s budget.
Yes, I know others have claimed they were the first to come up with this cost-saving idea but, I hasten to remind everyone, it was me. I have since called the effort the “California Broke Solution” or CBS, not to be confused with CBS, the media company.
Well, guess what? Our California broke legislature and Governor were, once again, unable to balance the budget this year. Not that it would have been easy to do so when you’re $40 billion+ in the hole.
Coupons Can Save California
So, once again, I come forth to save parks, water, education and energy to name a few.This time, it’s coupons. Yes, the coupons in newspapers (the few still publishing), magazines, tabloids, retail,online, mobile and 2D barcodes found on most products. Essentially, all coupons, say, 50 cents or higher.
Since our legislators, Governor and staff will probably botch the whole program, it’s up to the remaining sane citizens of the Golden State to set the rules. I have a few modest suggestions.
California Broke Solution Details
Each able-bodied resident of California 16 years of age and older is responsible for clipping 10 (that’s the number ten) coupons valued at least 50 cents each once a week.
- Only coupons for products that the State or its citizens can use are acceptable, such as food, clothing, lawn mowers, cars, gas (yes, don’t forget the gas) and other similar items.
Unusual coupons, such as 30% off a rattle snake advertised in the Penny Saver, is probably not a good idea unless the purpose of the coupon is to knock off a few legislators who fall asleep when the legislature is in session.
- Upon collecting a minimum of ten (that’s 10) coupons weekly, each resident shall mail all coupons directly to the State Capitol Building in Sacramento, CA. A 44 cent stamp (or whatever first class postage costs these days) shall be affixed to a legal-sized envelope and a return address, clearly showing the sender’s name and address in the upper left hand corner, is required.
- A California Broke clerk at the State Capitol Building (well, maybe two clerks, but we really can’t afford too much labor) shall open each envelope, count and check each coupon, enter the information into a special “Clip and Mail” database and return any unacceptable coupons of one dollar (that’s $1) to the sender. Clearly, it makes no sense to spend another 44 cents to return a 50 cent coupon.
- If the sender receives a returned coupon that was rejected, he/she is responsible for making up the deficit in the following week. Deficit, as in “state deficit.” If he/she fails to mail extra coupons for the unacceptable ones the following week, he/she will first receive a personally signed letter from the Governor reminding him/her of his/her’s civic duty to save the State through the California Broke program. Persistent and recalcitrant offenders will be reported to local authorities who will probably pay her/him a personal visit at home.
- Another clerk, if necessary, in Sacramento, will forward the clipped coupons, equally divided to each legislator and the Governor who, in turn, will purchase the items, using their own money, from a local store. Recipients of the coupons must buy the maximum amount of each item as indicated on the coupon. For example, a $5 off coupon for Pampers, allowing a total of three packs, must buy three packs. Not two (2) nor one (1) but three as in the number 3.
- Since the Governor is rich, he shall receive a minimum of $5,000 in California Broke coupons each week and purchase the indicated amount. The Governor must do this on his own time at his own expense within the week he receives the coupons. If he or any member of the legislature fails to purchase their assigned amounts, their names and home addresses will be flashed on a large highway sign close to the Capitol. This will alert California citizens of who’s negligent–that is, unless the guilty party is already known to be negligent, in which case it’s a waste of electricity to post.
- Items purchased by legislators and the Governor will be personally delivered to a charity of their choice which, in turn, will distribute items to the poor, needy, elderly, children, homeless, those locked out of state parks, schools, universities, prisons, libraries, etc. In other words, all government and non-profit agencies wiped out by the legislature and the Governor during this year’s legislative session.
- The charities know their work and require no monitoring.
It is expected that the Governor and legislature will continually promote the California Broke coupon program and that, pursuant to law, not reduce State funding to agencies, non-profits and others based on the value of coupons received herewith.
There you have it. And, please, two years from now, when the California Broke program is in place, would you please credit the originator of this ingenious plan to save California–me–and not take personal credit for the idea.
Thank you very much and have a nice day.