You’ve heard of government programs before. The U.N.’s “Oil for Food” Program, to name one government-subsidized program for the truly needy.

Does a Legislator qualify as a truly needy soul?

There is one program operating right here in California that I call “Cars for Legislators” which, despite criticism, is still guzzling up hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds every year. Governor Brown was right last week to take away the cell phones of non-essential State workers in order to save the state $20 Million; Governor Brown ought to put the brakes on cars for Legislators as well.

The SacBee’s Patrick McGreevy reported over the weekend that “newly-elected Luis Alejo, a Democrat, is taking delivery of a 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid, worth $37,269.” And the Democrats aren’t alone. Tim Donnelly, one of the Assembly’s most conservative new members – and a Tea Party darling at that – just took delivery of a brand-spankin’ new Ford Edge. (Don’t even get me started on Cathleen Galgiani’s new Ford Mustang — the visual there is just too much.)

Why the State continues to allow Legislators to take shipment of these $40,000 taxpayer-funded cars during a budget crisis is beyond me. The cars have become nothing more than a political gimmick. True to form, almost every Democrat’s car is (you guessed it) a hybrid, and every Republican’s car is (you guessed it) American-made. Just another political gimmick to parade around their district back home.

A person could argue that Legislators need their cars when they arrive in Sacramento to each week. Not true. Most legislative staff pick their bosses up from the airport and deposit them directly at the Capitol. (I know, I used to be the Monday morning taxi service.) One might also say they need the cars to get around their home districts to attend events. To that, I say they can drive their own cars, then bill the state for mileage according to IRS standards like most businesspeople. It’s just not right that while many Californians are actually living in their cars, Legislators are being supplied with them.

If Legislators want a fancy car, let them buy it with their own $100,000+ annual salary like the rest of us working Californians. The way I see it, if Legislators can’t scratch two nickels together to buy their own car, I’m not exactly sure I want them in charge of a $26 Billion budget crisis.

To members of the Legislature, I say do as the rest of us do. Buy your own car. Or hit the road.