For many years, in good times and bad, the people who represent us in Sacramento have rejected every opportunity to bring spending in line with revenue. They also refused to put money aside for hard times.

Now, they have a crisis, and no one trusts them.

It appears that the financial meltdown of state government – a crisis so many years in the making – officially begins on Wednesday. That would be the day after voters are expected to reject Sacramento’s latest stopgap solutions.

There will be hardships all around – layoffs by the thousands, reductions in the number of school days, smaller benefits for the aged, the disabled and low-income people, the release of inmates from state prisons, and more. And local government will be hammered as Sacramento “borrows” billions of dollars earmarked for cities and counties. Of course, the state has been borrowing and borrowing and borrowing until its credit rating ranks last among the 50 states.

Get ready. For a dysfunctional state government, the bills are coming due.