Posts Tagged ‘Jerry Brown’
June 30th, 2011 at 7:48 pm
California’s Brown Vetoes State ‘Card-Check’ Law

Kudos to Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) for vetoing a state version of “card-check,” a shift in policy that would replace the secret ballot with signing a card given to union organizers.  For those needing confirmation that eliminating the secret ballot is one of the last gasps of a dwindling union movement, the good folks at Western Farm Press report this little nugget:

Farmers lobbied mightily to turn back the legislation and convince Brown to veto it. The veto was a victory that ranks close to the triumph several years back when the taxes on farm equipment and agricultural fuel were rescinded due to a herculean lobbying effort. Passage of the card-check law would have created heightened union organizing efforts by a floundering United Farm Workers of America.

And how’s this for a bit of history:

The 1975 Agricultural Labor Relations Act gave wings to the United Farm Workers of America, which eventually reach 100,000 members. However, that number has plummeted to less than 20,000 today. The card-check rule would have breathed new life into the UFW.

Other unions like the Teamsters came in to challenge UFW, and growers simply increased wages and benefits to stave off unionization. UFW became unnecessary.

And so is card-check.  Good veto, Governor Brown.  Keep ‘em coming.

June 27th, 2011 at 2:02 pm
5 Common Gimmicks States Use to ‘Balance’ Budgets

After California Governor Jerry Brown (D) vetoed the legislature’s budget bill, many questioned the definition of a “budget gimmick” since both Brown and the legislature accused the other of using accounting tricks and unrealistic assumptions to balance the state’s budget.

Thankfully, the Arizona Capitol Times has an answer.  Actually, it has five.  Here are the most commonly used gimmicks states employ to meet the technical (i.e. constitutional) requirement to balance their budgets.  (Note: Examples of states doing these are indicated by their two letter abbreviation.)

(1)   Putting off payments – can include delaying or skipping payments to schools and pensions (Ex: IL, MN, NJ)

(2)   Accelerating revenue – this gimmick collects taxes like those on sales early (TX)

(3)   Using temporary money for recurring expenses – spending ‘rainy day’ funds to cut the grass (HI)

(4)   Counting on savings that aren’t likely to materialize – one example is mandating less spending without enacting a specific policy change (CA, CT)

(5)   Counting on revenue that isn’t likely to materialize – such as counting on a federal bailout or stimulus funding that does not appear (NY, CA)

So, there you have it: A five-point B.S. meter for judging the seriousness of your state’s “balanced” budget.

I wonder if the Tea Party is readying state constitutional amendment drives to ban these practices and give their balanced budgets more credibility…

January 19th, 2011 at 12:29 pm
CFIF’s Troy Senik Gets Tough on California

Following up on a previous diagnosis of all that ails California, CFIF Senior Fellow Troy Senik is out today with a prescription for the Golden State to get back on the road to recovery.

Senik’s piece in City Journal doesn’t hold out much hope for newly elected Governor Jerry Brown, but the author does shed light on one proposal that might garner enough votes for a simplified tax code:

California would therefore do well to take the advice of economist Arthur Laffer, not just because of his status as one of the authors of Reaganomics but because he is an example of the state’s woes, having packed up his California-based fund-management business in 2006 and relocated to Tennessee. By Laffer’s estimates, if California abandoned its current, highly progressive income-tax system in favor of a statewide flat tax of no more than 6 percent on personal income and net business sales, it could completely abolish all property taxes, state gas taxes, and state payroll taxes, as well as all current state and local sales taxes, without losing revenue. And that’s without factoring in the increased economic activity that such a dramatic change to the tax code would almost certainly generate. This change would once again require the support of a two-thirds majority in the legislature, but its appeal just might be broad enough to attract such a coalition.

Read the entire article here.

January 4th, 2011 at 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.

December 2nd, 2010 at 1:54 am
Jerry’s Choice

Jerry Brown, the once-and-future governor of California, has precious little time to shore up his legacy.  Next month, he’ll retake office and be at the center of the nation’s worst state government budget crisis.  Most think he’s in the pocket of the public employee unions who spent millions supporting his campaign.  California’s Victor Davis Hanson posits a different possibility.

If the liberal Brown were to now take on out-of-control public spending, he would be immune to the charges of callousness that destroyed multimillionaire outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and would have likewise smeared Republican billionaire gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman had she won. Perhaps given that California already has the highest sales, income and gas taxes in the nation, Brown could shrug and say that any more tax increases would set off an even greater stampede out of the state.

And at 72, the once overly ambitious Brown — who ran for the presidency three times — can forget about leapfrogging into the White House. The question now is Brown’s final legacy, not his next career move. We know from the implosion of the European Union that unchecked big government inevitably leads to public insolvency. But does it also ensure, Brown might ask, moral bankruptcy?

In a postmodern world of omnipresent cheap consumer goods and all sorts of government-subsidized cradle-to-grave perks, can “small is beautiful” Jerry Brown teach Californians not just that too much stuff is no longer affordable or sustainable, but, at a deeper level, that our out-of-control excesses, appetites and dependencies are no longer good for our souls?

Before he chose politics Jerry Brown spent time in a seminary discerning whether he had a vocation to the priesthood.  If he wants to be remembered as one of the state’s greatest leaders perhaps he would do well to remember that being fiscally responsible isn’t just good politics, it’s also good morals.

November 4th, 2010 at 6:41 pm
Glimmers of Hope from California’s Governor ‘Moonbeam’?

Laying out his interpretation of California’s electoral decisions on Tuesday, Governor-Elect Jerry Brown is hinting that his third term in office may not be all tax-and-spend.

Brown headed a Democratic ticket Tuesday in blue-leaning California, where voters resisted the “red tide” of Republican victory sweeping the nation. He added that the message from voters was clear: “The voters last night turned down a mere $18-a-year (car) tax by about 60 percent, so I would say that the electorate is in no mood to add to their burdens.”

He said Californians passed Proposition 25, which ends the two-thirds legislative majority for passing a state budget, while also approving Proposition 26, which calls for a two-thirds vote to pass fees.

“The taxpayers gave – and they also took away,” he said. “On the one hand, people said, ‘by majority give us a budget’ and on the other, they said, ‘don’t pick my pocket.’

“What we have to do is win the confidence and trust of the people of California,” he said. That, he added, will require competing groups – Republicans, Democrats, labor unions and business – to “push toward a common interest.”

If California does get a reformed liberal as a budget trimmer, it will be more than the state deserves, and a tentative step in the right direction.

H/T: San Francisco Chronicle