Faced with the two charging rhinos of the California budget crisis, these rhinos being higher taxes and fewer services, governor-elect Jerry Brown apparently will choose to adroitly sidestep them, allowing them to go charging into the laps of you, the voter, who will then decide what to do.
This is political judo at its best, using an attacker’s force to your advantage. The plan is to call a special election next summer, telling voters the choice is to “increase taxes or cut services, what do you want to do?” He promised not to raise taxes without approval from voters, and this would fulfill that promise. Senate Minority leader Bob Dutton said Republicans in the legislature, whose support would be needed, might go along with this if real structural reforms in the budget process were part of the proposal. He added that Brown said he would “rip the Band-Aid off next year,” a reference to years of short-term budget fixes and ploys that solved nothing and instead put a small bandage on a gaping wound, and pretended everything was fine.
Brown’s budget for the spring will be dire. This will be preparation for the special election and to get people’s attention. Budget cuts are also sorely needed. The amazing, exploding California budget deficit spiked to $28 billion after realization that Obama’s tax cuts will cost California $2.7 billion in revenue. Gosh, just a few days ago the deficit was $26 billion, and shortly before that, it was $19 billion. The bean counters in Sacramento appear to be congenitally arithmetically challenged, as they clearly do not know how to count or estimate revenues accurately, preferring to be relentlessly perky about how big revenues will be truckin’ into state treasury any day now, just you wait. Then, another concrete block of reality hits them upside the head, and the deficit gets revised upwards, again.
So, can Brown succeed where Schwarzenegger failed?