That didn't take long. Gov. Jerry Brown this morning vetoed the all-Democrats/no-Republicans budget passed out of the California legislature yesterday:
The gimmick-laden, secret-tax-springing plan left the governor without much choice, given his prior rhetoric against “smoke and mirrors” budgeting.
This was only the second time in the last 25 years that the California legislature has met the June 15 deadline for passing a budget.
As I have been explaining on Fox KTTV’s 10 O’Clock News all this week (I’ll be back again tonight), the real purpose of meeting the deadline was to avoid a penalty voters mandated last year, which cuts off legislators’ pay if they miss the deadline.
The result of that haste (and only in government could it be considered hasty for hundreds of people to take only four months to generate a document) was a monstrosity disproportioned in every part, like to a chaos or an unlick’d bear whelp. I’m not sure producing a dummy document counts as progress toward sound budgeting, but in this economy even politicians can’t afford to forego six-figure salaries.
Brown gets considerable advantages out of throwing the bill back. While the smart media are reporting that this will give him additional time to negotiate with Republicans, the more interesting question is how he will use the opportunity to triangulate with the Republicans against his own party. He’s right that this budget was unacceptable for many reasons, and while Brown has been backsliding since coming into office, he’s too proud of his legendary cheapness to sign another piece of Swiss cheese. Just to name one example: This budget revived a controversial plan to sell and lease-back some government buildings. But in order to make it more palatable, Democrats included a provision that the buildings would revert to government ownership after a period of time. So effectively they were expecting somebody to pay the buyer’s price for a building, eventually return it to the original seller, and in the meantime charge the seller enough rent to make it an attractive deal. Is there any way the government could get a buyer to agree to that deal without offering a rent so high that the state would end up losing money in the long run? Maybe there is. Please 'splain me in the comments.
Going back to Cali? I don’t think so.
Update: Here's me kibbitzing about all this with the folks at my local Fox affiliate: