It's sad that one comment can mean more to a debate than years of attacking public employees and public works and months of attempting to destroy the California dream. That should be disqualifying enough. But Governor Hot Tubs and Stogies' "let them eat cake" comment in the New York Times has gained some traction. Apparently this was a target big enough for everyone in Sacramento to hit. The Assembly Democrats included it in a video showing the Governor's hypocrisy during recent budget talks.
And that's great. Narrative-setting can be powerful and important. That's what's behind the Governor's idiotic crusade to criticize legislators for legislating while he stamps his little feet. At least for today, I think the Democrats are getting the better of ol' Hot Tubs and Stogies.
But I'm more excited about this:
Labor groups file initiative to repeal corporate tax breaks included in recent budget deals.
These are the massive corporate tax breaks, which could cost the state up to $2.5 billion dollars a year, agreed to in secret by the Governor and the Legislature during the February budget agreement. In a time of recession, the state's political leadership, hijacked by the 2/3 requirement, gave away billions of dollars to the largest corporations in America while crying poor about social services for the indigent and the needy. And those corporate tax breaks are the ONLY permanent tax changes made in the budget this year.
Damn right they should be repealed. They offend the conscience, cost the state needless cash, and do nothing to help the vast majority of businesses (80-90% of the proceeds of these tax breaks will go to just 200 corporations).
Bottom line: Budgets are about values, and they are about priorities. Before lawmakers take health coverage away from children whose parents are struggling to make ends meet, eliminate financial aid for students who understand that hard work and a college education provide the best promise of future success, or shutter state parks that protect California's natural environment and provide affordable recreational opportunities, they should reverse these permanent and massive giveaways that will compromise the state's long-term financial security.
With newfound spunk from Democrats, at least in the Assembly, and serious moves by progressive advocates to reverse the horrible decisions made in past budget years, I think the ground is being prepared for a legitimate reform of the broken structure that has brought us to this point.