New budget – election day trap

Katy Grimes: News came late yesterday that the “big five” finally reached agreement on the state’s budget. Yeah right. They reached a “handshake agreement.” Now there’s something you can bank on.

What an embarrassment. And someone is going to lose his job over this one.

As part of the agreement, the leaders will place another “rainy day” fund  measure on the 2012 ballot, claiming that it’s a “softer” version of the last one that the voters rejected.

No word yet on the deal reached with the SEIU, despite the governor’s tough talk. However, according to Aaron McLear, the governor’s spokesman,  he will not sign a budget that increases taxes and does not include pension reform.

For reassurance, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg offered, “The administration is working very hard and very well with SEIU – and will be with all the other collective bargaining units. We’re very hopeful that they’ll reach agreements with at least the vast majority of collective bargaining units,” reported in today’s Sacramento Bee.

Despite promises of no new taxes, Republicans seem poised to fail 12th grade semantics. The 2008 agreement to suspend the net operating loss deduction for businesses in the state, was reversed, with Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta, insisting, “it’s not a tax increase.”

And the governor is still squawking about selling the 11 state-owned properties for more than $1 billion, and then leasing them back on a long term basis. Even a fifth grader would understand that long term leases will end up costing the state exponentially more than just selling the buildings outright, or continuing to make the payments on them.

There are no surprises with this smelly deal, and no surprises with the timing. Far too many social service agencies were about to close up shop in a couple of weeks as their lines of credit (on which they have been subsisting) run dry.

Democrats are poised to push Prop 25, which would change the legislative vote requirement necessary to pass the state budget and spending bills related to the budget, from two-thirds to a simple majority. Instead of making tough and unpopular decisions, as all leaders must do, this group of legislators continue to allow the special interest money to dictate budget and spending decisions, and then ask voters to make it easier for them!

This is what happens to a state that continues to elect leaders that have never signed the front side of a check. It’s time to clean house and rid the state of the mamby-pamby lawmakers, and bring in some with cojones.

OCT. 2, 2010

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