Budget Reform Now Becomes Budget Reform Later
The Budget Reform Now folks, on the heels of one ad narrowing their focus to Props. 1A & 1B, have released yet another, basically with the same script only substituting a teacher for the firefighter, warning of $16 billion in cuts if 1A & 1B fail to pass. 1A & 1B do NOTHING in the current budget year or the next. Nothing at all. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his cadres are exploiting a crisis with fearmongering tactics to gain a spending cap they can use to ratchet down state services forever.
This is very simple. If 1A's spending cap would immediately limit state services $16 billion dollars below the baseline funding needed to provide services at the current level, then $16 billion in services aren't at risk with the failure of 1A. They're at risk with passage. And that risk would be permanent, and would increase every year, well and above the two year extension of tax increases.
Arnold obviously doesn't give a damn about the current budget gap. Heck, he probably enjoys it; he can use his new furlough tools and threaten to set the state on fire and a host of other right-wing options. The golden goose for him and his rich supporters is the spending cap. And those Democrats who enable him in this effort ought to understand what they're supporting - a permanent reduction in services for the state's most vulnerable citizens. "What's your solution," is the phrase thrown around at us. The problem is we know theirs.
UPDATE: The latest brilliant idea from the Governor: raid local governments if the Props fail, a direct contradiction of his deal with cities to stop raiding their budgets five years ago. Under yet another Prop. 1A from 2004, the state can borrow 8% of property tax revenues (about $2 billion), which would have to be repaid with interest in three years. The credit cards are open for business again! While this measure represents 10-15% of the total projected budget gap, it would decimate services at the city and county level, services that - voila! - the state would need to step in to provide. Also the Governor cannot pull this off unilaterally: it would require a 2/3 vote of the legislature.