The Ransom Note

Every time the budget is due, it always seems to boil down to a series of Republican demands, or what we have called the ransom note.  Due to term limits, it’s always a different mob boss delivering the note, but the principle still holds.

They released this year’s ransom note rather late in the game, as they are want to do, as it heaps up the pressure on the people trying to get the budget done.  Very clever that way.  The Bee published the ransom letter last week with a series of handy notes as to any pertinent positions of the Administration.  

I won’t copy the whole thing here, as it is pretty long, but the 59 points on there boil down to few larger areas: pension reform, teacher (and anti-CTA) reform, CEQA, regulatory reform, a spending cap, AB 32 and greenhouse gas emissions, and a series of spending priorities.  These aren’t minor issues, and some of them, such as AB 32 and CEQA, aren’t even particularly related to the budget.

In other words, this is just another hostage crisis.  The Republicans are attempting to pass legislation that the voters of California would never support through their undemocractic supermajority powers. This list is beyond ridiculous.  If they think CEQA reform and the abolition of AB32 is so important, then do it one of the many legal ways, not through some sketchy forced vote trading scheme.  Get it through the legislature on its own merits, and if that really doesn’t work, tell the California people about it and go to the ballot.

But of course, we know how the people of California feel about such measures.  As we saw with Prop 23’s attempt to gut AB 32’s greenhouse gas standards, we just aren’t going to go for it.  So instead, they are trying to engage in barely legal (if that) vote trading with the Democrats just trying to keep the state on life support.

At some point you just have to say no, and move on to some more productive process.

4 thoughts on “The Ransom Note”

  1. The article shows that Governor Brown is willing to meet them to make significant reform to pensions, reducing pension spiking, introducing caps, and eliminating overtime from pension calculations, which would result in huge immediate savings through lower rates by local governments and some real savings for state government.

    Republicans have enough leverage to get some serious movement on the state’s biggest issue, but they instead keep adding to their ransom demands and claiming that Jerry won’t negoatiate.

    It’s pathetic.

  2. An accurate portrayal of what passes for governing in the Golden State. Unfortunate, but true. And, you’re right, it’s not about the budget. It rarely is. That’s just their cover story to do a lot of unpopular stuff.

    Even more unfortunate, it might work. Public opinion is swinging in the GOP direction. Of course they’re masters of repetitive propaganda, and their corporate masters give them plenty of cash to put the word out.

    So, perhaps the strategy is really just to stall long enough to whittle away at public opinion. It has the dual benefit that, if they pass the expiration date of these revenues, they’re no longer extensions but new taxes. Which gives them more ammunition to feed their echo chamber.

    The only good news is that it doesn’t seem to be working in Wisconsin. People are still up in arms about that naked corporate power grab. Perhaps the tide of public opinion will turn here too–if anybody bothers to out the GOP.

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