Voters Give Gov. Brown and California Legislators One More Chance to Balance Budget

In the Orange County Register, Reason-Rupe Polling Director Emily Ekins writes

It's official: Democrats have supermajorities in both the state Assembly and Senate, meaning they can pass state tax increases without a single Republican vote. Voters got a head start on tax increases when they passed Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30, which raises the statewide sales tax as well as income taxes on upper incomes.

Some Democratic leaders are wisely trying to downplay some of their glee and promising newfound fiscal restraint rarely seen around Sacramento. "We have to make sure over the next few years that we pay our bills, we invest in the right programs, but we don't go on any spending binges," Gov. Jerry Brown said after the Nov. 6 election.

It's the first time since 1933 that a single party has controlled two-thirds of both the Senate and Assembly and the first time since 1883 the Democrats have had such majorities. "I promise that we will exercise this new power with strength, but also with humility and reason," Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said. "I certainly don't intend to suggest to my colleagues that the first thing we do with our new power is to go out and seek to raise more taxes."

If Democrats don't tackle the real causes of the budget deficit – state spending, lawmakers may find something most would never envision: California voters calling for Wisconsin-like budget and pension reforms.

An October Reason-Rupe poll saw that Prop. 30 was leading and asked likely voters across the state: "Suppose these tax increases in Prop. 30 are approved but do not end up eliminating California's budget deficit, what would you like the legislature to do next?"

 Nearly three out of four, 74 percent, said they'd want the state to cut spending to balance the budget. Just 15 percent said raise additional taxes to eliminate the deficit and 4 percent said borrow more money.

Sure they want spending cuts, but how similar are California's voters to Wisconsin's? While Wisconsin is not as blue as California, the Democratic Party's presidential candidate has won Wisconsin in every election since 1988, and Wisconsin voters just elected Tammy Baldwin, who will be the first openly gay U.S. senator.

Earlier this year, just before Republican Gov. Scott Walker's recall election, which was prompted by organized labor's fierce reaction to cuts to government workers, the Reason-Rupe poll asked Wisconsin voters: "For new government employees who have not been promised pension benefits, would you favor or oppose shifting them from guaranteed pensions to 401(k)-style accounts?"

In Wisconsin, 69 percent of voters said they'd like to shift new government workers to 401(k)s. A few weeks ago, Reason-Rupe asked the very same question of California voters and got the very same result: 69 percent said shift government workers to 401(k)s. So before California's Democrats hatch any grand tax-and-spend plans, they should delve deeper into public opinion than just Proposition 30's success.

The full column is here and the Reason-Rupe California poll is here (.pdf).

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  • InlineSkate||

    I'd like to see this liberal experiment play out. If only to make an example out of them.

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    Liberal experiment? Yeah. But also a libertarian experiment. California is what you get when you open the borders, and that experiment is failing.

  • Brutus||

    Open borders combined with an overweening welfare state is a recipe for disaster.

  • SKR||

    You're right, we should have started shooting republicans years ago as they left for Texas, maybe then we wouldn't be in this situation.

  • Lewisite||

    But...they passed Prop 30..it was a 'mandate' for skoolz, swarms of new taxes, and...free sex changes...California is saved, right?

  • ||

    Hell, if free sex changes can't save America, then I don't know what can!

  • ||

    TISNATAAFL!

  • amelia||

    LAUSD is just now trying to push all their special needs students into private schools. I don't know the details, but some acquaintances of mine who work for the district were freaking out about it the other day.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "It's the first time since 1933 that a single party has controlled two-thirds of both the Senate and Assembly and the first time since 1883 the Democrats have had such majorities."

    It's nice to know we've suffered this sort of stupidity before and survived.

    "We have to make sure over the next few years that we pay our bills, we invest in the right programs, but we don't go on any spending binges," Gov. Jerry Brown said after the Nov. 6 election."

    Nixon told everybody he wasn't a crook--because everybody thought he was a crook.

    The Greeks told themselves "moderation in all things" becasue they were the most immoderate people in the history of the world.

    Jerry Brown is telling the Democrats in the legislature not to go on any spending binges becasue he knows that's what they're going to do.

    He knows that's what they're going to do--and there's nothing he can do to stop it anymore.

    Why would the Democrats in the legislature win a veto proof majority and not use it?

  • Sudden||

    Democrats in 1883 had more in common with libertarians of today than they did with Democrats of today.

  • Bingo||

    The real headline is that the 49ers rookie second-string QB has some hella potential.

  • ||

    So Chicago public workers got a 401K?

  • DJK||

    "Hella". Another reason to hate the cesspool known as the Bay Area.

  • Paul.||

    69 percent said shift government workers to 401(k)s.

    The greatest justice of all? Switch government workers to my 401(k). Oh how I'd laugh and laugh.

  • ||

    "It's the first time since 1933 that a single party has controlled two-thirds of both the Senate and Assembly and the first time since 1883 the Democrats have had such majorities."

    And wouldn't you know, back in 1883 the big issue was those damn chinks taking our jobs. The more things change the more they stay the same!

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Back then I heard they docked one a day's pay for nappin' on the job.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Might as well nap all day then.

  • Lyle||

    California reminds of the HIV positive John Holmes. Quite the specimen, but going to be dead soon.

    I josh, it's probably not that bad.

  • geo1113||

    Or perhaps it is amazing Holmes lives as long as he did.

  • amelia||

    The next time they ask for tax increases (on the rich) they'll all say, "OK, just one more time."

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Switching government workers to 401K plans would also help prevent future attempted raids on 401K accounts by the feds.

  • waaminn||

    Man you gotta love those bought and paid for politicians lol

    www.Goin-Anon.tk

  • SKR||

    Not go on a spending binge? Bwahahahahaa. Good one moonbeam.

  • 16th amendment||

    The poll is bogus. I do believe that Californians will say we need to cut spending. But when it comes time to vote, they just won't go with that instinct. They will vote for higher taxes.

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