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State, seize on Hyundai offer
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Too bad Gary Coleman wasn't governor.

He'd have California's cash flow problem covered in just five minutes by calling So what if the annual percentage rate on the payback is 99.25 percent? It obviously didn't bother the California Legislature when they have repeatedly refused efforts to impose tighter regulations on as predatory lenders who prey on the poor.

Coleman - who finished eighth out of a field of 135 candidates in the infamous recall of Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 - has a keen understanding of what misleading private sector firms can do for your bottom line.

He'd probably see the new Hyundai commercials and see an excellent opportunity for California.

You know the ones. They brag about how they will pay you up to $600 a month for 12 months to buy one of their cars. And if you no longer have income at the end of a year they'll take the vehicle back, you keep the money, and they won't ding your credit report.

This is a gift from heaven for California.

They could park all state vehicles - there has to be at least 20,000 - and replace them with new Hyundai vehicles. The payment per month to the buyers ranges from $250 to $600. Assume the average vehicle the state of California buys from Hyundai qualifies for a $450 a month payment for 12 months that could generate $108 million in new state income.

Then at the end of the year, the state could say they no longer have income and simply return the vehicles to Hyundai and keep the $108 million without a further ding on the state's credit. Once that happens they just put the original vehicles back into service.

Of course, Hyundai expects payments during the 12 months. That's where the real beauty of the plan comes in to play. It's almost July 1 and we all know what that means - it'll be months before they can get a budget in place. California's supposed to run out of cash on top of everything else in less than seven weeks which means they'd start issuing the equivalent of script. The state would pay Hyundai in script on the promise of replacing it with cash when the budget is adopted. Since there is no way that's going to happen as every legislator is beholden to the state employee fiefdoms and special interest groups that back them by taking their campaign donations, the odds are the state won't be able to close the $24 billion deficit. Raising taxes is about as smart a thing for a politician to do today in Sacramento as is jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge shackled to 100-pound weights with lead.

And unless the Legislature does some real severe cutting to the tune of $22 billion - they're "borrowing" $2 billion from local jurisdictions - or someone does indeed ring up the state will be heading into bankruptcy. Once that happens, the state can simply return the cars and keep the cash. The script then will be worth as much as a share of Washington Mutual stock.

As an added bonus South Korean will be left holding the bag. They got into direct subsidizes of auto manufacturers long before the United States.

Buying from Hyundai makes sense since California's leaders would feel right at home with the gimmicks the manufacturer is using to trick people into thinking they're getting a real deal. Instead of offering cars for interest free as other manufacturers do upfront, they are advancing the money instead. Doesn't that sound like the sleight of hand employed by the Legislature and the governor for the past four years as they ignored addressing the real state budget problem which is spending more money than they're taking in?

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail