Dems listen (but only to some voices)

California’s Assembly Democrats are holding live budget forums to supposedly get the public’s input into ways to fix the state’s fiscal situation. In the Democratic explanation about the forums, the caucus makes clear what voices it wants to hear — those who think that California’s budget mess can be fixed by jettisoning the two-thirds budget vote requirement, something that will ultimately lead to higher taxes. Writes the caucus:

“California continues to face unprecedented budget challenges. Like only two other states in the nation—California requires a 2/3 vote of the Legislature to pass a budget.

“As the majority party, Democrats are willing to take responsibility for a majority vote budget. The public should have the opportunity to hold the party in power accountable for the policy decisions they make.

“Despite the 2/3 rule, Legislators still need the public’s input in this process order to make tough choices on what to fund, what to cut, and where to find the needed revenues. Your voice is important, and we would like to hear from you.”

Maybe the Democratic Assembly members can use to hear some other voices — say, from people who believe they are taxed and regulated enough, and who believe that the state ought to trim back, reduce pensions and pay for government employees and embrace some fiscally responsible measures rather than hammering taxpayers for more cash to prop up this dysfunctional state government.

As one GOP official reminded me, the Democrats will likely be busing in hordes of union workers to these meetings. Any balance to this might be worthwhile.

Meetings are scheduled on Friday May 7 at 4 pm in Los Angeles, Saturday May 8 at 2 pm in San Diego and Thursday May 13 at 7 pm in Albany. Check this Web site for details and to sign up.

–Steven Greenhut

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