California finally passed a budget. It is a bad budget, cutting essential
services, borrowing a tremendous amount, selling our lottery revenues and giving
a huge tax break to big out-of-state companies.
Each of these came from demands by the very, very few Republicans who agreed
to vote for the budget at all will, of course, just get us through another year
while making it ever more difficult to pass future
California’s 2/3 requirement means that a few
corporate-funded extremists can hold the rest of us hostage. So they had to make a terrible deal to get the
three Republican votes required by the 2/3 rule, or else lay of tens of
thousands and stop paying California’s bills.
We the People of California were all held hostage to that threat.
The resulting deal was that if We, the People want schools,
police, firefighters, roads & bridges, courts, all the things our
government does for us, we had to agree
to tax breaks for the big multinational corporations that kick in so much money
to help elect the anti-government extremists. So the big companies – the kind
that come in and crush local California businesses – get a big tax break while
the rest of us have our taxes raised.
Oh, and the oil companies can continue to take our oil out of the ground
for free and then sell it back to us.
Here are some reactions around the California netroots:
“The cuts are going to be really, really bad:
10% across the board for education, huge cuts for public transit operations,
health care, etc. The new revenues basically fill in the loss of revenue
from massive unemployment.
[. . .] The “single sales
factor apportionment,” which is the massive business tax cut, doesn’t kick
in until FY2011, predictably and conveniently after Gov. Schwarzenegger is out
of office and it will be someone else’s problem to make up the revenue!
It’s almost like somebody planned it that way!”
“The deal reported today does not call on all
California taxpayers to share in the sacrifice. Working Californians will face
billions in higher sales tax and income tax rates. But businesses win about one
billion dollars in new tax breaks. $700 million in corporate tax cuts
result from a recalculation of how California taxes the profits of big
multinational corporations. According to the Senate Analysis, the
windfall to multinational corporations, and the revenue loss to California will
eventually grow to $1.5 billion.”
“The only way out, and the first
reform that we must undertake – the tree blocking the tracks, the door that
opens the path to all other reforms – is eliminating the 2/3 rule that
gives conservatives veto power over the state and turns the majority Democrats
into a minority party on fiscal matters. It’s been talked about frequently on
Calitics and in what remains of the media’s coverage of state politics. So it
seemed time for an in-depth discussion of the issue and the prospects for
restoring majority rule to California.
“Many Democrats and political
observers fear that Maldonado strong-arming the legislature may set a bad
precedent for future attempts at getting a budget on time.”
So here we are. Our
structural problems have enabled extremists to increase … our structural
problems. We are one more step down the
road to intentional ungovernability.
Over the next several months, we who love this state must act to fix this. We must get rid of this 2/3 budget-vote requirement that allows extremists to hold us hostage. An initiative changing the 2/3 vote requirement is long-overdue but we’ll need the support of every forward-thinking voter to make it happen. Let’s work together to ensure that it does.