Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brown's showdown in California

Unfortunately, the Sacramento Bee video clips don't provide an embed option. Plus, the "Share" function they provide sucks (at least for Facebook). But even if it requires an extra click, this clip of California Gov. Jerry Brown calling out the Republicans for obstructionism and crackpot politics is a good piece of evidence that there are Democrats who are willing to confront the Republicans head-on: Gov. Jerry Brown calls out "extreme" Republicans 03/15/2011.

This isn't just rhetoric. Today a showdown vote is scheduled in the legislature today over Jerry's proposal for closing the fiscal year 2011-12 state roughly $25 billion budget deficit by $10 billion in program cuts, $10 billion in tax extensions to go on the ballot, and $5 billion in one-time funding for one-time expenses. The Democratic majorities in both legislative houses appear ready to approve the program. But it's still an open question as of this writing whether any Republicans will support putting the tax measures on the ballot. Bee columnist Dan Walters typically stays close to press conventional wisdom. But his comments in Brown-GOP budget talks hit a wall 03/15/2011 are reasonable enough:

And what if there is no deal? Does Brown have a Plan B?

He and Democrats may try to bypass Republicans and place some tax increases on the ballot with simple-majority legislative votes. It's a legally problematic tactic, but one that might put pressure on Republicans.

Earlier, Brown had said that if taxes are blocked, he wants legislators to whack spending by many billions of dollars, hitting schools especially hard. That would underscore the impact on public services of not having new revenues, but Democrats would shy away from a doomsday scenario.
One of the Republicans' ploys is to demand a dirtier environment in exchange for their support of the tax increases. This sounds like the kind of trap the Obama White House would be willing to walk into. I doubt it will fly with Jerry Brown; I doubt that it's a serious negotiating move by the Republicans at all: Shane Goldmacher and Evan Halper, GOP lawmakers threaten to withhold votes unless environmental rules are rewritten Los Angeles Times 03/16/2011.

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