But what should we expect? At the very least, there will be drastic changes to the way that we have done business for the last thirty years. Brown has the opportunity to do what he should have done over thirty years ago when Prop 13 passed and deal with the ramifications. Back in 1978, he declared himself a born-again tax cutter, and back-filled the Prop 13 cuts with the budget surplus he had built. And thus the structural deficit was born.
But, this time is different, with Brown reportedly bringing in “realignment” experts to look at how he can shift power (and revenue) back to the local governments and get them on board to help pass some revenue measures at the ballot.
Brown’s political calculus is this: Shift power to the locals, then go to the ballot and ask voters to approve the money to help pay for it. If the locals get behind it – they’ve been demanding money and autonomy for years – the ballot proposal ultimately could have a chance of passing. Local control in return for taxes. (CapWeekly)
Clearly state control over the past thirty years has run its course. We haven’t really be successful at backfilling the local money, instead just getting creative at accounting and borrowing techniques. But that is not to say that this is the clear solution to all that ails us.
Ultimately, this is a part of Jerry Brown’s effort at a progressive shock doctrine. Make the people aware of the problems, bring the crisis closer to home and give them a say at the question of what kind of government that they want.
As the Capitol Weekly article points out, this realignment tactic has been tried before. Some failed, and some succeeded. But this is likely to be the biggest effort of the sort, and could represent the difference between a state that can prepare for the future or one that struggles to cope with the mistakes of the past.
UPDATE: According to a release from the governor’s office, we’re looking at some major cuts next year in addition to some additional revenue, if it can get passed in a special election.
Gov. Jerry Brown will propose a budget today that relies on $12.5 billion in spending cuts over the next 18 months and higher taxes over the next five years to solve the state budget deficit, his office announced this morning.
“These cuts will be painful, requiring sacrifice from every sector of the state, but we have no choice,” Brown said in a statement. “For 10 years, we’ve had budget gimmicks and tricks that pushed us deep into debt. We must now return California to fiscal responsibility and get our state on the road to economic recovery and job growth.”(SacBee)
UPDATE II: Gov. Brown is just wrapping up his press conference, and Ana Matasantos is on now. You can grab the summaries here and the full details of the budget here. There is a lot of meat here, and I’ll take a more detailed look at this and post some more.
Noon Update: Just got the thoughts of Sen. Mark Leno, the Senate Budget Chair:
We are facing a budget crisis of epic proportion, and Governor Brown’s proposal reflects that sobering fact,” said Senator Leno. “I am committed to working with the Governor, my colleagues in the Legislature and the people of California to resolve our fiscal emergency. As we give careful consideration to each of the governor’s ideas, we recognize that difficult cuts have to be made in a way that spares the pain and suffering of our most vulnerable citizens. In order to prevent the worsening of our fiscal situation in the next few months, it is also critical to consider new revenue and thoughtful tax reform and ask voters to weigh in on what they want from their government and how to pay for it. It will take bold leadership to make the needed systemic changes, find additional resources and make targeted cuts to help heal California’s budget, stimulate our economy, create new jobs and restore luster to our great state.