GOP Proves It Ain't Rocket Science

by CalWatchdog Staff | May 12, 2011 12:43 pm

Steven Greenhut: The California Assembly Republicans just released a budget blueprint that closes the remainder of the state’s budget deficit without raising taxes or imposing any severe restrictions on the state Leviathan. It doesn’t cut any education funding or law enforcement. Its assumptions seem modest and realistic. It shows that this whole process wouldn’t be that difficult if the state weren’t run by people who were serious about balancing the books rather than those are committed almost solely to the goal of expanding the size of government and protecting public sector union members from cutbacks. The GOP plan is a wise and constructive way to deal with Gov. Jerry Brown’s approach, which will come into full view on Monday with the release of the May budget revise. The beauty in the Assembly proposal is that it is thoroughly realistic. There’s no real reason a Democrat couldn’t support it.

That said, the plan falls far short of anything ideal. It doesn’t address pension or redevelopment reform. It only deals with outsourcing in a minor way. But it does suggest that much of the debate over closing the budget gap is phony. The deficit can be closed with a little effort. The real challenge is making fundamental reforms so that California can become competitive and not just solvent.

Here is the letter that Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway sent to Assembly Speaker John Perez:

Dear Mr. Speaker:

Thank you very much for your recent letter seeking our ideas for solving the state’s fiscal crisis.  As Assembly Republicans have done throughout the process – and will continue to do going forward – we are happy to put forward our specific proposals to help California close our remaining $15.4 billion budget deficit.

The budget approach that we outline today represents the common-sense solutions that we believe can be embraced by Democrats and Republicans alike in enacting a reasonable no-tax increase, budget compromise.

Our budget approach does not ask Californians to pay a $55 billion tax increase to fuel unsustainable government programs and a 31 percent increase in state spending over 3 years.  As a matter of principle, we believe that raising taxes on struggling families and employers is the worst thing we could do right now, for our economic and budget recovery and for our efforts to jumpstart the economy and bring back private-sector jobs.

The Assembly Republican proposals that we put forward today represent our roadmap to a no tax increase budget.  These are specific and detailed proposals to balance the budget with no new taxes.

Budgets are a reflection of our priorities as a state.  Facing a $15.4 billion deficit, we are under no illusion that crafting a balanced budget is an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.  But the news that California has taken in $2.5 billion in unanticipated tax revenue in the past four months shows that we can balance the budget and protect the priorities of working families like education and public safety – without raising taxes on overburdened Californians.

Keep in mind that the nearly all of the components of our Republican budget roadmap have been proposed by the non-partisan sources we all trust, such as the Legislative Analyst’s Office or the Bureau of State Audits, and key budget stakeholders like the University of California, or even by Governor Brown himself.

Specifically, the Assembly Republican roadmap to a no tax increase budget would:

Our budget roadmap includes many of these pending solutions, including a modified version of the Governor’s redevelopment plan.

We trust that you will see the Assembly Republican roadmap to a no tax increase budget as a detailed and thoughtful proposal to help the state close its remaining $15.4 billion budget deficit, protect our core priorities like education and public safety and get California on the road to economic recovery.

On behalf of Assembly Republicans, I wish to extend my hand of bipartisan cooperation as we work to balance the budget without raising taxes.  In addition, we look forward to working with you and your caucus and Governor Brown on long term reforms to end this constant cycle of budget deficits such as enacting a real spending cap and reining in the costs of gold-plated public pensions.


Assembly Republican Leader

MAY 12

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