As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pay Attention, Bipartisan Fetishists

Yesterday the California Majority Report reported that Assembly Democrats unfurled a scroll of all their budget cuts that they have adopted over just the past 5 years.

Assemblymember Noreen Evans, Chair of the Budget Committee, along with
Assemblymembers Saldana, De Leon, and Hayashi, unrolled a 150 foot long scroll listing all the budget cuts the Legislature has adopted since the 2003-2004 budget. The scroll stretched from the Capitol Rotunda to the Governor's Office and displayed over 180 cuts totaling over $19 billion.

I'm pretty sure they didn't do this because they were proud of the cuts. They impact the least of society, and make it harder for those who are struggling at precisely the time they need to access basic services.

No, the Assembly Democrats did this in the hopes that bipartisan fetishists like George Skelton and Warren Olney and the Sacramento Bee editorial board and California Forward could maybe tell the truth for once about what is holding up the budget. As the CBP noted yesterday, California is the only state in the entire nation with a 2/3 requirement for both the budget and tax increases. The "solutions" they have therefore had to provide for past budget gaps are often gimmicky and simply delay problems into the future. But the other consequence is that Democrats have OVER AND OVER AGAIN authorized often painful cuts to state services. This is not a problem of "the legislature" - it's a problem of one side willing (sometimes too willing) to compromise and the other unwilling to do so, protected by the dysfunctional laws of the state.

With the proposed federal stimulus bringing as much as $21 billion to the state over the next two years, there's a lot of talk about a budget deal, and given the Feb. 1 deadline for action, that's positive. But the only specifics we've heard is another set of debilitating cuts, offered by Democrats as well as Republicans. This is asymmetrical warfare, where Democrats act in the interests of the state and magical thinking Republicans whine and cry. And nobody helps Californians sort it out. This budget crisis is a media failure. The blood is on their hands.

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