By Paul Losch
Seeing the CA Budget Impasse at Grass Roots LevelUploaded: Jul 9, 2009
One of the things that gives me a good feeling about the business I own and run is that I am able to outsource a portion of the work we do to an agency in Santa Clara Country that works with and supports mentally handicapped individuals. It is a win/win, where I get a good value, a good work product, and for the people at the agency, it is a project they really enjoy working on.
Mine is a company with seasonal sales, mainly cold weather time of year, so we are just now gearing up production for the coming holiday and winter season. I got a large order from a major customer, and I decided to give it to this agency, and they are now hard at work on it.
Since I had not dealt with them for several months, I spent some time with the facility manager. I asked him how things are going, and he candidly told me they are on pins and needles about the State budget process going on right now. He thinks his agency will "be OK," but apparently some of the similar agencies with which he interacts may not survive.
He also told me how excited the people that are served at this agency were when they saw me and learned they had an opportunity to do some work for my company again. This type of operation used to box software before much of it went on line, packaged things like Pet Rocks before China took over production and assembly of nearly all our cheap consumer products. The nature of my business requires things to be finished here, but we are an exception in this day and age in the States.
I thought a lot yesterday after I left the place about what important work is being done by this organization, and how fortunate our community and the "clients" that particpate there daily are to have this resource. And how tragic it is that our "State" of affairs financially in California will likely result in many places like this one getting shuttered permanently or at a minimum pared back in what they can do as a result of the changes in the external business climaate over the last several years and the cut backs they are facing from government social services budgets.
I don't really know what the "right answer" is here. But as I listen to the radio news driving to work about our legislators' inability to come to some sort of agreement on a budget, the State running out of cash, and I juxtapose it with the people I saw yeterday who are truly affected by this type of impasse, it just breaks my heart.