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.