Lost in the drama of the California budget is one huge part of the story that is ignored by our hapless local press.
The Obama stimulus package will prevent the cuts to education, the tax increases and the unsustainable borrowing from being much, much worse.
According to the budget documents, if the state receives what it predicts from the federal stimulus package – more than $9 billion – there would be other benefits to the budget: borrowing would be reduced by roughly half, $950 million in cuts would be restored and the tax increases would be reduced.
And every Orange County Republican in Congress voted against the stimulus package, then self-righteously gloated over their unity. So they not only voted against the largest middle-class tax cut in the nation’s history, they also voted to fire teachers, increase California taxes, and borrow more against future revenues.
Against the backdrop of the steepest employment drop since the last depression, declining revenues, and and sharply falling demand that reinforces the downward spiral, these ideologues refused to act.
The other interesting fact about the California budget deal is that the federal stimulus package included “maintenance of effort” standards, so that if California had not worked to fix its structural deficit problem, our share of the stimulus package would have been denied, reduced, or waited for the processing of a waiver.
So we have one group of Republican asshats in our Congressional delegation who voted against the package that helped California craft a package to avert fiscal collapse, and state Republican asshats who refuse to admit that we needed to clean up the mess that Scwarzenegger created by restoring a little balance to our budget.
(Cross-posted from Orange County Progressive. )