California is in a major financial crisis, facing a $16 billion budget deficit. Social services are being slashed. Teachers and education professionals are being laid off by the thousands (up to 20,000, according to California Department of Education). Tuition and fees at state universities and colleges are being raised once again.

Yet, California Republican Assembly members are unanimously supporting a loophole in the California state tax code that allows people to avoid paying sales taxes on their… yachts (and other high ticket luxury items)!

Yes, you read that right: A tax loophole for yacht owners and others who possess expensive luxuries. No big deal, you think? Financial estimates are that closing just this one loophole would raise an extra $26 million over the next year to help ease California’s budget crisis. While that doesn’t even scratch the $16 billion budget deficit, just think about the good that even an extra $26 million IS capable of doing.

For this unbelievably self-serving example of lack of societal integrity, all members of the California Assembly supporting this tax loophole have received my Integrity Disgrace Award for March 20, 2008. The co-runners-up for today’s award are the California media for taking this in stride rather than making it front page news and California citizens for not demanding that all self-serving tax loopholes be abolished during such dire financial times.

I have said it before and I will say it again: our current recession has been brought about through lack of integrity.

What do you think it will take for us to start treating integrity issues as the centrally vital issues that they are? I’d love for you to let me know.

What are you doing to spread the word about The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and Our World so that people can finally receive the education they need in order to embody personal, relationship, societal, business, leadership and political integrity?