Will Obama bailout California later this year...
California Governor Jerry Brown’s campaign pledge to fix perennial budget jams with his ripened political acumen failed to overcome the government dysfunctions that ensnared his predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Brown, a 72-year-old Democrat who was governor from 1975 to 1983, conceded yesterday he lacks Republican support for a June referendum to keep higher sales, income and vehicle taxes from expiring. Extending them five more years, he had said, was crucial to closing a $15 billion gap in his $84.6 billion budget without slashing funds for schools and public safety.
Brown, who promised after his November election to make state government “more responsive” and “coherent,” was thwarted by partisan lawmakers entrenched in gerrymandered districts, the need for a two-thirds majority vote to raise revenue, a tax structure vulnerable to economic cycles and constitutional amendments that plucked budgeting power from elected officials.
“As long as you have the structures that have been wedded into the constitution, you’re going to have a hard time governing California,” said Jaime A. Regalado, director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs, a part of California State University at Los Angeles named for Jerry Brown’s father, governor from 1959 to 1967.
Without an enacted budget, the state will be unable to issue $10 billion in planned revenue anticipation notes and may have to resort to IOUs for the first time in two years to meet cash-flow needs, Standard & Poor’s said today.
Jerry Brown abandons key part of his California budget plan - Now what?
Brown announced he was willing to contemplate pension and regulatory reform and spending caps but "while we made significant progress on these reform issues, the Republicans continued to insist on including demands that would materially undermine any semblance of a balanced budget. In fact, they sought to worsen the state's problem by creating a $4 billion hole in the budget."
But Republicans have responded that "Governor Brown and the Dems can't have it both ways. They asked for ideas – and then complained there were too many,” said Tom Del Beccaro, chairman of the California Republican Party, in a statement. “They wanted specific budget solutions – and then complained there were too many details. They shout 'Let the people vote' – and then refuse to let the people vote on measures that will create jobs and bring permanent reforms to California government.”
Analysts say it was the constituencies behind both sides that were the problem.
“The unions limited the ground that Brown could give, the anti-tax GOP grassroots limited the ground that the Republicans could give, and so they could not find common ground,” says Jack Pitney, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College.
By far the best story from the Schwarzenegger era...
This clip does a humorous job of explaining California's problems...
Video: California Treasurer Bill Lockyer eats his own kind...
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