Saturday, February 14, 2009

T/S Looks At State Economy Problems

Not a bad write up in the Times- Standard this morning on the reasons for the state's economic woes. Much of what they've written has been said here before by yours truly. I can't help but wonder if it must make the folks at the Times- Standard feel a bit awkward. After all, I'd bet money that the vast majority that work there voted for all the bonds and such that the article says contributed to the state's economic mess.

I'd only take exception to one part of the article. It's certainly not the first place I've heard it and won't be that last, but I take exception to those that blame this mess on the 2/3 majority requirement to pass a budget.

Dan Faulk is quoted as saying, "
California is also one of only three states in the country that requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass the budget. While the majority party often gets the brunt of the blame for inaction in government, when it comes to the California budget, the opposite is often true as it only takes a few legislators in the minority party to derail a budget vote.".

What does that have to do with anything? I've mentioned here before that the last time our state budget was passed on time was the 2000- 2001 fiscal year budget. That's where they blew all the surplus money from the dotcom boom with permanent spending increases that helped get us to where we are today.

It's ludicrous to assume that if the Democrat majority had their way in the legislature and they could pass a budget with just 51% we wouldn't be in the mess we are today. Sure, they would have likely raised taxes years ago, and succeeded. But spending would probably still have outpaced revenue gains, possibly even more so, if just a simple majority could pass the budget.

There might be valid arguments for getting rid of the 2/3 majority requirement. The state's current money mess isn't one of them.


At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Chris Crawford said...

Agreed, Fred, Thaddeus did a pretty good and thorough job today in his coverage of the state budget crisis.

I also agree that pointing to so-called Republican recalcitrance and a 2/3 requirement to raise taxes is disingenuous and ignores the fact that without it we would be in a deep budget deficit AND have high taxes.

In previous articles they cited that if the state laid off ALL of its employees, it would not cover the projected $41 billion shortfall. If that's true, it's a staggering thought, but the more I think about it the less I believe it.

Do they mean the savings from a total layoff for the remainder of the fiscal year wouldn't cover it?

Whatever the answer, it is clear that the problem is serious, deep rooted and in need of serious action.

I'm not sure that I trust this group, but there appears to be a move afoot to call for a citizen's constitutional convention. It may be time to storm the Bastille. Check it out:

At 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Republicans are obstructionists - holding the state hostage while they cling to their petty dogma. Each day they hold up a budget they cause severe damage to the state's ability to recover. They are the minority party in the Legislature and should not have the power to ruin California like they are now. You can bet there will be a ballot measure to change the two-thirds vote rule and my money is on the voters approving it.

At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what bunch of crap/if prop 13 wasn't the law these idiots would have already taxed us out of our homes/ prop13 told the state to live with in their means not triple the size and stupidity of state gov/ if it weren't for 3/4 vote requirement the nuts in charge who happen to be dems would just keep raising taxes growing government and running out biz / no where in todays coverage was there any voice for regulatory relief or support for growing private enterprise/ remember those guys? their the engine that drives everything not the D^*m government/ do any of you remember that Chesbro got 117,000 dollars a year to do nothing on a payola committee while waiting for his next elected seat/ all an farce

At 7:11 AM, Blogger Fred said...

We should be glad the Republicans hold the power they do in these budget negotiations. If they hadn't held out, there'd likely been no slowing down of spending at all and taxes would have likely gone even higher than they're about to go.

This latest budget compromise supposedly raises the gasoline tax in California another twelve cents. You have to wonder how high it would have gone if the Democrats could pass a budget and raise taxes with only 51% of the vote? And that's just the gasoline tax increase. There's more coming our way. It could have been much, much worse, if the budget was easier for the Democrats to pass.

I don't know that this makes a blanket statement about Republicans and fiscal responsibility. Here and now in California, maybe. But we've seen on the national level how Republicans can spending through the roof, albeit they're now being outdone by the Democrats.

Statewise, I understand North Carolina is facing a similar situation to California although the numbers aren't as big- their economy and government being smaller. North Carolina has both a Republican governor and majority in the legislature.


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