Tick. Tock. Time is Running Out On a Compromise

Jerry Brown desperately wants an election for the beginning of June. However, in order to make that happen, there has to be some sort of agreement on how the Democratic majority is going to subjugate itself to the whims of the extremist Republican minority.  So, the so-called “Republican 5,” a group of 5 Republican Senators who consider themselves open to putting taxes on the ballot, spent the weekend at Jerry’s place to see if they could work something out.

Spoiler Alert: They didn’t:

Tom Harman, one of five Republicans who negotiated with Gov. Jerry Brown, said Monday that budget talks broke down this weekend over fundamental disagreements on a permanent spending cap and pension changes.

The Huntington Beach Republican said the group has no more talks scheduled with the Democratic governor. He believes talks will shift either to a “Big 5” discussion between Brown and the four legislative leaders or that Democrats will pursue a majority-vote budget solution.

Harman said the five Republicans wanted ballot measures that would impose a permanent hard cap on future state spending and reduce pension benefits for current state workers. Those issues were non-starters for Democrats.(SacBee)

Apparently it isn’t that they were willing to consider something reasonable, they were just the advance team to get Republican will like they have done for every single year during the budget process.  This way, you can have Tony Strickland, the guy who beat his Democratic opponent by a few hundred votes, can form his Teaparty group and claim that they will never even let voters vote, while still playing the same old game that they have been playing since 1978.

They are trying to go all Scott Walker on the state, but they are even bolder.  At least Walker was democratically elected.  Sure, he didn’t have a mandate to do what he did, but these guys don’t even have the benefit of even winning a statewide election.  In a year that was supposed to be a Republican sweep, they couldn’t even push one Republican across the line.  And somehow they are trying to pull off what is essentially a legislative coup.

You can’t say they don’t have some serious gumption.  You can say, however, that they lack a basic sense of fairness and right and wrong.

Back in 2009, I had the good fortune to help defeat Prop 1A, that included the spending cap.  And despite the corpse of Howard Jarvis claiming that was all about taxes, I can assure you that the Progressive base was none too enthused about it.  Prop 1A had no constituency because it was too far to the right, and too far to the, um Arnold Schwarzenegger.  By 2009, it was clear that Arnold had no constituency, and yet the Democrats, for the most part, proceeded hand in hand with him.

And while the hard spending cap was defeated, we still lost a lot in that election.  Quite possibly, we may have taken the idea of real revenue enhancements, oil severance, a revised and more progressive income tax structure, that sort of thing, and pulled right off the table.  We are now in the position that Brown is doing his best to get the best deal he can, and he’s just hoping for some extensions of the regressive taxes that we already have in place.

So now we are are down to the wire.  If we are to get an election for June, we’ll need to have something passed through the Legislature with in the next week, ten days at the latest.  A majority vote measure carries a lot of risk, and Brown knows this.  Whether we are forced to walk the line, we’ll know in a few more days.

Incidentally, Brown also announced the date of the CA-36 special election.  The primary, which will feature at least 3 candidates from the two major parties, will be May 17, and the top two vote getters will meet in a rematch on July 12.

28 thoughts on “Tick. Tock. Time is Running Out On a Compromise”

  1. And long live dysfunctional government, the last and best way left in Calfornia to prevent public employee unions from getting their hands on anymore of my hard earned money.

  2. We’re only talking Ballot measures, right? It’s the inverse of the argument for Republicans and their being scared to let people vote on tax increases. Let’s walk the walk and talk the talk. I have no problem putting Pension Reform on the ballot, it’s better than having the far right propagandize it to death through the media.

  3. to change the requirement that 2/3rd of the legislature has to vote to put a ballot initiative that asks for a tax increase on the ballot, down to a simply majority?

  4. We can fight those fights as they come. If the tax extensions do not get on the ballot, the situation is very grim.

    Let me lay out what we are facing at the school district level.

    For 2011-2012, we are expecting to see a 10% cut in revenue to our school. That’s based on last year’s optimistic budget, but not counting a repeat of the money that came back to schools in the “final” 2010-2011 budget.

    We are told, that if this does not pass,

    1. The extra money sent to schools will likely have to be returned.

    2. We can expect an additional $1000 per student cut.

    This would have the net effect that for 2011-2012, we would see a 20% cut in actual funds coming to the schools, in an environment where we have already cut heavily from important programs, assuming that we are steady in enrollment.

    This level of cut would be devastating.

    Let the people decide. They can own the result.

  5. I’ve heard it over and over again… Republicans need to be willing to compromise.  But if the Democrats (and their Public Employee Union supporters) refuse to allow a spending cap and/or pension issue on the ballot, what other issue would justify a Republican going against the wishes of his/her constituency?

    Absent a change in their numbers, a few Republican votes are only needed when the majority party wants to increase revenue.  If Republicans are virtually irrelevant now, how can the Democratic leadership reasonably expect one-way Republican cooperation in a result that could insure  Republican irrelevance for the next five years?

    Since the current budget deficient was predictable a year ago, the Democratic leadership solely own today’s stand-off and its effect on future government services.

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