Starve GOP Districts Of State Funds

Katy Grimes: In a room full of Capitol journalists at the Sacramento Press Club lunch meeting Wednesday, Democratic Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg began down a road that should have frozen the insides of everyone in attendance.

But even journalists get desensitized to political rhetoric.

Answering questions about the budget, Steinberg said that if Republicans lawmakers will not vote for a budget that includes tax increases, he supports making targeted cuts in GOP districts. Steinberg said his plan is similar to the plan laid out by Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who has also suggested that an all-cuts state budget is an option as long as it only targets the districts of the lawmakers who oppose voting to put the $11 billion in tax extensions on the ballot.

“You don’t want to pay for government, well then, you get less of it,” said Steinberg.

Instead of the time-honored despotic tactic of starving your enemy, it seems that Steinberg and Lockyer want to starve some Californians of state funds.

The tactic has been used throughout history by ruthless rulers who target enemies into submission, with some horrific results.

So much for across-the-board sharing of pain. How can targeting only Republican districts be considered good government? This is California, not Idi Amin’s Uganda or Josef Stalin’s Ukraine.

While there does not appear to be an agreement in sight on how legislators plan to close the state’s remaining $15.4 billion deficit, discussions about taking the pain to the constituents of Republican legislators is probably the most heinous, anti-American, unconstitutional talk — and it isn’t funny.

“When it comes to kids or the vulnerable, I wouldn’t want to make distinctions between who lives in a Democratic district and who lives in a Republican district, but when it comes to sort of basic services, convenience services that affect adults … I have an open mind,” Steinberg said.

Steinberg has introduced legislation which will make it much easier for local governments to raise taxes using a majority vote, and said he hopes to see budget talks intensify.

Talk of inflicting pain only on GOP districts ought to intensify the budget talks plenty. This dangerous rhetoric is irresponsible and does not belong in ether house of California’s Legislature.

APRIL 28, 2011


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