No Cuts

In what’s become a depressingly familiar story over the last 2 years, California faces another big budget deficit:

Less than four months after California leaders stitched together a patchwork budget, a projected deficit of nearly $21 billion already looms, according to a report to be released Wednesday by the state’s chief budget analyst.

The new figure — the nonpartisan analyst’s first projection for the coming budget year — threatens to send Sacramento back into budgetary gridlock and force more across-the-board cuts in state programs.

As the article points out, the deficit for 2009-10 (current fiscal year) is $6.3 billion, and the projected deficit for 2010-11 is $14.4 billion. Arnold is already talking about closing it with cuts:

“I think that there will be across-the-board cuts again,” he said at a San Jose news conference….

“I can’t think of any good solutions,” said Assemblywoman Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), who chairs the budget committee. Although the projected deficit would be smaller than the last one, she said, “the cuts are going to be harder to make because we’ve already made such substantial cuts.”

Notice the difference between the two statements. Arnold is saying “there will be cuts again.” Simple, declarative. Noreen Evans is saying “the cuts are going to be harder” but the subtext is “they’ll happen anyway.” Not a strong or clear statement at all.

Instead, what is needed is a very clear and simple statement from Sacramento Democrats: no cuts. CDP Chair John Burton got a loud ovation at the E-Board meeting this weekend in San Diego when he said we’ve had enough cuts to core services. The activist base, crucial to Democratic turnout hopes in 2010 (Dems lost 9 Assembly seats in 1994, giving Republicans a brief 1 seat majority for the first time in over 20 years), clearly hungers for a strong “no cuts” stance from their Democratic leaders if they’re going to be motivated to go out and win the seats Dems need to get to 2/3rds.

Further budget cuts will only worsen the state’s economy, at a time when we’re at a fragile stasis – not getting worse, not getting better. We might be seeing genuine recovery had it not been for the billions of cuts made since the summer of 2007. Instead, California is poised to collapse by embracing these cuts.

Of course, Democratic refusal to cut won’t solve the problem alone. California desperately needs a second stimulus. Talk of a new jobs bill has ramped up in recent days, and much of the talk includes aid to state and local budgets, as a way to protect and directly create jobs. Typically, Rahm Emanuel and the White House are still recklessly talking about deficit reduction, and ominous rumors of 10% across the board federal spending cuts have surfaced in recent days.

The path for Democrats – in California and in DC – is clear. Say no to budget cuts, and yes to new spending in order to create jobs.

10 thoughts on “No Cuts”

  1.  My heart is in full agreement, but under the rules of the game as they are now, we still need two-thirds for both budget and revenue. The Zombie Death Cult Republican Party has proven they will at least try to recall anyone who votes for tax hikes, and will definitely oust them from leadership.  I don't see where we get the votes.  Do we hold the line and let the state come to a screeching halt? (Even more than it already has, that is.)

    I return to my modest proposal of the summer:  name Hollingsworth & Blakeslee Budget Committee chairs, and make them design a budget that gets two-thirds.  Let Steinberg & Bass pledge to be the 16th & 30th votes, respectively, for the budget ONCE EVERY REEP VOTES AYE.  These are ZDC budgets anyway; the least they can do is OWN them.

  2. Because of the stupid 2/3 rules, we don’t have the votes to enforce a “no cuts” command.  If the Democrats deadlock against any cuts, how is there any other result besides default and bankruptcy of the state?  And isn’t that worse than cuts?

  3. State Governments cannot run deficits like the federal government. Exactly how many more jobs can the State provide under our current budget conditions when we’re furloughing the state employees we have right now?

    This “no cuts” position is in now way either left, liberal or progressive. It’s completely ignoring reality. We need some budget cuts and targeted temporary tax increases with tax credits for job creation.

    That’s really the extent to what the government can do right now. Until demand comes back, we all just have to tighten our belts and wait this thing out.  

  4. Start by looking at all of the services that the State provides in Red districts. Cut them. Close prisons in those districts. Cut agricultural services there. Target cuts to road projects there.Propose to close colleges in those districts. Close any government service office in a red district and make the consumers of services go to a district where the legislator has shown a willingness to support government services.

    In other words, force the debate onto the Republicans. Make them come up with revenue to support services in their areas. For too long the battle has been about services in blue districts. We need to turn the equation on its head. Democrats should stop funding services in areas where the voters are going to keep returning the assholes who don’t support those services to office. It would not take long for voters to choose someone who is working for them rather than the Club for Growth.

  5. what the fu** are they doing? Completely ignoring the state mandate just like Ahnold is ignoring the Courts?

    BTW, criminals can’t ignore a judge’s order. Why is Ahnold above the law? IF I don’t like a prison sentence, I can just walk away from it? Don’t think so.

  6. and actually force the GOP to back down on this crap, they had might as well just resign en masse and leave the governing of the state to the 1/3 of the legislature that is republican. there’s no point in maintaining the fiction that the majority has a say in governance.

  7. to UC schools.  It WILL force many students across the state to drop out of school, plain and simple.

    Heading up to campus right now to protest at the UC Regents meeting….

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