Government Spending

California Democrats Will Blame Republicans Once They Find One

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How would Ishi vote?

California Gov. Jerry Brown has thrown in the towel in his talks with the "Rogue Five" Republicans, apparently dooming his plan to bring a tax-increase/tax-extension referendum to the ballot in June. That ballot initiative can still happen in November without Republican support, which may be too late for Brown to make good on his "No new taxes without voter approval" pledge for this year's budget. 

If these negotiations seemed like kabuki, that's because they were. Brown in a statement condemned Republicans – who last Friday presented a list of 53 demands that were no sooner mentioned than dismissed – for their intransigence on the tax proposal: 

The budget plan that I put forth is balanced between deep cuts and extensions of currently existing taxes and I believe it is in the best interest of California.  Under our constitution, however, two Republicans from the Assembly and two from the Senate must agree before this matter can be put to the people. 

Each and every Republican legislator I've spoken to believes that voters should not have this right to vote unless I agree to an ever changing list of collateral demands. 

Let me be clear: I support pension reform, regulatory reform and a spending cap and offered specific and detailed proposals for each of these during our discussions.  While we made significant progress on these reform issues, the Republicans continued to insist on including demands that would materially undermine any semblance of a balanced budget.

The roundup of Republican blaming gets more hilarious as you go along. Here are three choice examples, and here is State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) treating the impasse to his particular brand of weltschmerz: 

In the other house, Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) faults the GOP for demanding "tax cuts for huge, out-of-state corporations, and other costly proposals that would have put a four billion dollar hole in the budget." 

His aura smiles and never frowns.

The only thing missing from this Republican crime spree is Republicans. As I pointed out in the March issue of Reason, the Democrats control everything in California except the weather. The only thing they can't get is an easy two-thirds majority – but even this is a minor issue because the voters approved an initiative in November lowering the budget-passing legislative threshold from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority. California Republicans can barely win an election, let alone an extended budget negotiation. 

You can see that in the responses from the GOP. One of the Rogue Five, State Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), claims Republicans were willing to play ball on the tax increase in exchange for a spending cap, pension reform and (watch your wallet) "measures to spur job creation." New California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro – whose appointment is so far shaping up as the first smart move the GOP has made in a while – compares Brown's inaction on reducing state bureaucracy unfavorably with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's. The funny thing is that, like all Republican activity in California, these comments matter as much as the proverbial gaseous evacuation during inclement weather

The funnier thing is that you're not allowed to say in public that the Democrats own the state. A few months back Steinberg took revenge on Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Oakdale) for making the uncontroversially true observation that the budget is "really not our problem. The Democrats own this." Today, Steinberg expanded on that sentiment, saying of the Republicans, "They appear to want to be irrelevant."

No, Darrell, they are irrelevant. While it would be nice to see more competitive politics in the Golden State, the Republicans' Babylonian exile is not worth shedding any tears over. But it does create a perception problem that is also, peskily enough, a reality problem: You can't keep blaming Republicans who aren't there. In the most narrow, technical sense the GOP helped keep the tax referendum off the June ballot. That referendum has been steadily losing public support, and with good reason: We pay these people six-figure salaries, and we even pay their staffers six-figure salaries, so that we don't have to vote every three months. 

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  1. Ishi! We read that in 3rd grade.

    1. So, how would he vote?

      1. He’s republican….who cares!

      2. I don’t want to spoil the book for you.

      3. For his tribe. Obviously.

    2. The rabbit’s name?

      1. “Main course.”

        1. Yes but the Rabbits indian name was “Seasoned Lightly”!

    3. Ishi! We read that in 3rd grade.

      We is getting reddy for reeding it next yeer.

    4. Didn’t the Dodgers release him?

    5. Ishi! I wish we read that in the third grade.

      Being a resident of Ishi’s California assembly district (district 2), I can say that our assemblyman recently gave a speech criticizing California redevelopment agencies, but vanished (like the Yahi tribe) when it came time to vote on cutting the program.

      Whachyagonnado? Republicans should be blamed for everything.

    6. Hmm, in 3rd grade I read Island of the Blue Dolphins.

      1. We read that one too, though it might have been fourth grade.

        1. You’re right, that was a part of our California Spanish mission studies. 4th grade was all about state history and the gold rush.

  2. What a shithole state California is. Hard to believe it used to be so cool.

    1. With enough weed almost anything is cool.

    2. “You should have seen the Pacific ocean back then”.

  3. Eh, as a Californian myself, I don’t entirely know what to think about this. Yeah, the dems in this state thoroughly fucked us over. And yeah, we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. But Moonbeam did have a lot of cuts, cuts to virtually everything across the board (except k-12), going on. He was asking for a temporary extension of a current tax measure set to expire to be approved by the voters. Yeah, I don’t think we need another tax, but it was combined with some deep (by our pathetic CA standards) cuts. Now Moonbeam is going to be less willing to play ball with the few pubs remaining when revenues rebound… Just seems like we’re fucked no matter what.

    1. Sudden|3.29.11 @ 10:28PM|#
      “…But Moonbeam did have a lot of cuts, cuts to virtually everything across the board (except k-12), going on….”

      Nope. He didn’t *touch* union benes, except indirectly with the redevelopment ‘deal’.

    2. cuts my ass. did you even look at the new prison guards contract, they are still being paid to walk from their cars to their shift locations. wtf.

      dems in california will never cut any union benefits or funds.

  4. @sudden. Consider, my friend, the irony of calling your Gov. “Moonbeam” and then writing “…when revenues rebound…”!!
    Cool-cat California is now dead-cat Calipornia, and, as we are all perfectly aware, dead cats DON’T rebound!

    1. as we are all perfectly aware, dead cats DON’T rebound!

      You’re not dropping them from high enough.

      1. You have to teach them to box out under the basket.

  5. Again:
    1) Got a nice district there. Shame if something happened to it:
    Dems used to offer redistricting favors for spending votes. No more.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/…..1IIS7C.DTL

    2) “Quinn added, because “this Legislature is run by the public employees unions (on the Democratic side) and the anti-tax people on the Republican side.”
    Oh, the SHAME of it! One side feeds the trough, the other says represents voters!
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/…..1IJ48O.DTL

    Maybe a repub will get my vote (if any run in SF)

  6. “But it does create a perception problem that is also, peskily enough, a reality problem: You can’t keep blaming Republicans who aren’t there.”

    But Michelle Bachman is running for President!

    The brand issue isn’t just a problem within the state–it’s a reaction to what’s happening on the national news too…

    If you could convince the people of California that the Tea Party was all about raising the pension benefits and take home pay of government employee unions, half of them would vote for Democrats on that issue.

    It doesn’t even matter what our own politicians are for anymore–it’s mostly about voting against what are seen as rednecks elsewhere in the country.

    1. You’re long overdue for a really big earthquake.

  7. How would Ishi vote?

    A fake TV injun in a yoga pose, forcing some inedible blob of vegan goo on a rabbit, in an impractical way that he evidently chose to showcase his lats…

    Ishi don’t vote. But he’s been giving Brown campaign volunteers herpes since ’69.

  8. And to correct Rousseauian fantasies, Ishi didn’t look one bit like the idealized illustration on the book cover.
    He actually sorta looked like Rod Beck.
    http://www.google.com/imgres?i…..CGUQ9QEwDA

  9. Let me be clear: I’m about goddamned tired of the phrase “Let me be clear.”

  10. @Ken Schultz
    “…it’s mostly about voting against what are seen as rednecks elsewhere in the country…”
    You mean as opposed to voting against illegal greasers, unemployed potheads, marxist professors, A-A panthers and LGBT activists and LIBERALS in your own (red) neck of the boondocks? (that would be Sacramento!)
    Acid Kool-Aid spiked with Psilocybin and swallowed with Ecstasy, a snort and a toke–DO NOT MAKE FOR RELIABLE POLITICAL JUDGEMENT!

  11. You have to read the 53 demands.
    http://blogs.sacbee.com/capito…..ist-o.html
    Some are sound, some are a litte technical, some are pie in the sky, but there are real goofy ones as well. For example, towards the end the GOP 5 demand funding for county fairs and green energy scams. But not cowboy poetry?

    Also the “single sales factor” could be accomplished in a revenue neutral way. It doesn’t habe to be a tax increase. And it’s good for California. It’s like the GOP 5 want jobs sent out of state.

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    2011-3-30 15:54:16

  13. I’m surprised you can get be in the minority party and get committee chairmanships in the first place; that’s not how we do things back East.

  14. This happens everywhere in the world, if there is a one party state that utterly dominates and has no chance of losing power, it still needs to have somebody to blame for failures.

    1. I blame Bush

  15. CA Republicans are idiots. CA Democrats are bought-and-paid-for apparatchiks.

    Film at 11:00 (or whenever they do “news” on the West Coast).

  16. between deep cuts and extensions of currently existing taxes and I believe it is in t

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