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January 4th, 2011 6:03 pm
HuffPo Hating on Jerry Brown

According to a blogger at the Huffington Post California just inaugurated a “Right-Wing Republican” as governor.  He’s referring to Jerry Brown, aka ‘Governor Moonbeam’ and the man proposing sharp cuts, tax increases, and budget raids to balance the state’s deficit-ridden balance sheet.   In HuffPo world, that combination merits being tarred and feathered as the second coming of another rock-ribbed fiscal conservative, outgoing governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Please.  If Brown’s budget proposal looks suspiciously similar to Schwarzenegger’s it’s because there are precious few options for governors of any party to try.  Sure, nobody thinks they’ll actually solve the problems, but that’s because actually solving California’s budget woes will take some serious undoing of cherished political prizes.

Republicans want to hang onto the 2/3 requirement for passing a budget and maintaining Prop. 13’s cap on property taxes, while Democrats act as though rich (i.e. working) people will pay any price to live within a 100 miles of a beach and subsidize a green welfare state.  Neither party is serious about making investments in the state’s infrastructure (e.g. road, power, and water grids), a precondition for economic and social improvement.

The only way California heals its self-inflicted budget wounds is if it repeals all of the constitutional amendments mandating budget appropriations.   To do that, Republicans will likely have to agree to end Prop. 13’s property cap, a move that would likely increase property taxes.  Though unpalatable to many, removing the cap would return discretion to counties and cities (historically better than Sacramento at balancing budgets) while giving voters an outlet for their displeasure with the next Election Day.

None of this will be easy or popular.  Then again, neither is California politics.

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