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

Monday, February 02, 2009

Media News Boldly Tells The Truth On The California Budget

Good for Media News. Central Valley readers got a page-one editorial yesterday not only lambasting the legislature for the budget mess, but squarely putting the blame on the Yacht Party for their obstructionism.

The governor and all 120 legislators share responsibility for this. But most of the blame for the immediate crisis falls on Republicans in the Legislature, who this past summer - to a person - signed a pledge to not raise taxes. That was before an already large deficit mushroomed, making the need for more revenue imperative. Since then, Democrats and the Republican governor have offered significant compromise, but GOP lawmakers cling to ideological purity - schools, health care and other essential responsibilities be damned.

These lawmakers constitute barely over one-third of the Legislature. But because the California Constitution requires a two-thirds vote on the budget, it enables the tyranny of a minority to trump majority rule.

This day didn't sneak up on anyone. It's the result of too much borrowing and too little political courage over too many years - lavish spending in good times and insufficient restraint in bad. For this, Democrats, who've controlled the Legislature, and the governor share responsibility. Compounding the problem are spending initiatives that bind the Legislature's hands. Voters have themselves to blame for these.

This is fairly honest, although the tendency to blame everyone in part sneaks through. Other papers in the Media News Group were more scathing:

The best hope is that the people will become angry enough to get the message across, especially to the Republicans, that they need to get the job done or get out of the way.

The stalemate is the result of the GOP's "no new taxes" pledge. It may have made for good headlines months ago, but sustaining it to the point of budgetary chaos is irresponsible....

A huge part of the problem is the state Constitution's requirement that budgets be approved by a two-thirds vote. It has not prevented past overspending, but it enables the minority party, Republicans for the moment, to play the spoiler role no matter the consequences.

It is time to join the majority of states without a super-majority provision. It is time to say goodbye to those who pretend to stand on principle. The no-tax pledge may have been sincere at the start, but it has become only a bargaining chip. Republicans are simply holding out for maximum impact.

That they put the editorials on Page 1, so nobody could miss them, and said they were doing so specifically to increase activism around the budget crisis, really speaks well to the responsibility of the editorial group. All I can say is it's about time.

In a kind of response, head rabble-rouser for the Yacht Party Jon Fleischmann has issued an ultimatum to the Republican caucus: vote for taxes and face censure (and by extension face a well-funded primary opponent). There is no better example of how the Yacht Party is committed to hijacking the state and obstructing anything resembling fiscal sanity.

Maybe Media News will report on that tomorrow.

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