CA Voters Kept In Dark About Budget

Today’s San Jose Mercury News has a front-page story, California leaders in no hurry to break budget impasse. From the story,

Despite plunging tax
revenues, Wall Street’s unwillingness to loan the state money and
billions of dollars worth of IOUs hitting mailboxes, California’s
leaders are displaying a seeming lack of urgency to close the state’s
$26.3 billion deficit.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders blew past a supposedly ironclad June 30 deadline to pass a new budget…

Blew past?  The legislature did pass a budget fix last week, but the Governor vetoed it!  This choice by the Governor led to the state needing to issue IOUs.

But readers who depend on this newspaper for information about the state budget process have no way to know this.  In fact, I have had difficulty locating any news source in the state that informed citizens that a budget fix passed and was vetoed.  (The papers did write that the Governor had threatened a veto, but — and I may be wrong – I can not find a single story explaining that he did it.)

To their credit (I guess) the San Jose paper hinted at the veto in an editorial a week ago, Governor didn’t need to push state over the edge, writing,

In rejecting a stopgap fix for the budget on Tuesday, the governor and GOP leaders have accelerated a budget meltdown that pushes the state deeper into debt.

Talking to people involved, I pick up a sense that passing a budget fix after the Governor said he would veto it was pointless, so not worth mentioning.  But isn’t that for the voters to decide?  Many would say that passing the fix, especially at the last minute after all negotiations had failed and the state was going over the cliff was the responsible thing to do, also known as governing.  This put a budget fix on the table and available for use to avoid the calamity and cost of IOUs, rating downgrades, etc.  The Governor had a clear choice at that point, and chose to take the state over the cliff.  The voters should have been told, not kept in the dark that the Governor made that choice.  

Meanwhile, the other side still refuses to offer up any plan of their own, still insisting that the Democrats fix the budget entirely with cuts to services that the public needs and take the blame for that.  They refuse to allow any plan that asks oil or tobacco companies to pitch in.  They claim the wealthy will “leave the state” if asked to pitch in an additional $40 a week.  They make up stories about companies leaving the state (but can’t name any).  But it is not reported that the Republicans refuse to offer a plan or engage in serious negotiations.  It is as if the Republicans are expected to not be serious, so it’s not worth reporting that they aren’t serious.  The voters should have been told.  

The system of democracy depends on the voters being informed so they can apply pressure as needed and remove officeholders who are not doing what the voters want them to do.  But none of this works if the citizens have no way of learning simple facts, like that the legislature did govern responsibly and pass a budget fix, which the Governor vetoed.  The voters should have been told.

4 thoughts on “CA Voters Kept In Dark About Budget

  1. I finally got fed up with the Ventura County Star running political cartoons and essays blaming “THE LEGISLATURE” for our woes.
    So I fired off a letter pointing out that the MAJORITY has passed three budgets since last summer… all with a responsible balance of tax hikes and spending cuts. I put the blame for the current crisis squarely where it belongs: on the Republican minority and their Hollywood Governor.
    To my surprise, they published it. At least they know good red meat when they see it. The flaming should start in just a couple of days.

  2. Perhaps the democrats need to take out newspaper adds, and do editorial board meetings – like the Gov did with the Chronicle, (which barely can be called a newspaper anymore.) The media has always twisted the facts to support their interests, what is the democratic party going to do to get information out to the public an influence debates. They need to somehow get out there and publicize things.

  3. Yes – veto is indeed a big secret – I just looked on the offical website for the California Governor and while there is plenty of mention of the dire need for a budget – there is NO MENTION of a budget put before him last week. I say this with my tongue firmly in cheek: How do we know there was a vetoed budget? Opinion pieces and blogs aren’t proof. How can we get the word out if we have no official source? Thank you.

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