California Budget

Budget Bloodbath: Sheila Explains It All – Part I


On Monday, higher education officials
told a legislative committee that the proposed budget cuts could prevent hundreds of thousands of young Californians from attending college this fall.

Other educators pleaded with the committee not to cut $300 million out of the state’s school bus system, thus leaving many students stranded.

Also yesterday, the City Project and a long list of other organizations explained in an open letter to the governor why closing California’s state parks is an absolutely terrible idea.

As we reel in a state of helpless anguish at each new round of proposed cuts,
the voice of Sheila Kuehl is particularly welcome.

(Sheila Kuehl alone is one of the better arguments against term limits.)

Last night, Kuehl—who has taken to blogging—put up a new essay that discusses what message
we ought to take away from the failure of Prop 1A, and what that message ought to suggest regarding how we might go about balancing the California budget.

Here are some clips:

The Problem With the Rhetoric

Immediately after the election, the Governor announced that the “voters had spoken” and that the defeat of Prop 1A “clearly” meant that Californians stood adamantly against any new taxes or fees. He must have been reading the leaves in the bottom of his tea cup in order to come to a favored conclusion, however, because there was no evidence to support his assertion. Quite the opposite, as a poll taken between May 16 and May 20 showed. (see below)

The Governor didn’t stop there.
Building on his unsubstantiated assertion, he went on to maintain, that he, therefore, had no choice but to propose a budget that would put the wrecking ball to California’s safety net for healthcare, children, the elderly and schools. As shown below, his conclusion as to the meaning of the “No” vote on Prop 1A is not true, and, therefore, these proposed cuts, and a budget with no new revenues, is not the most acceptable answer for California’s voters.

What Would Prop 1A Have Done Again?

Many voters indicated they were confused by Prop 1A and with some good reason. Like every one of the Propositions on the May 19th ballot, Prop 1A was originally constructed to satisfy Republican demands in exchange for a minimal number of “aye” votes on the February budget. As such, Prop 1A would have placed a spending cap on future budget expenditures. Then, in order to placate Democrats who did not agree with the spending cap as drafted, an extension to the new sales tax was added to the Proposition, giving virtually everyone something to hate.


What Did The Voters (and the Non-Voters) “mean” by the Defeat of Prop 1A

The only real information we have about voters’ intentions is a poll conducted between May 16th and May 20th of 603 people who voted in the election and 405 who did not. According to several sections of the poll:

1) 3 out of 4 voters and non-voters simply thought these propositions should never have been put to them for a vote.

2) 7 out of 10 did not like that the Governor and the Legislature keep balancing the budget “on the backs of average Californians” instead of requiring special interests to pay their fair share. Only 20% thought all Californians were being asked to share the pain equally.

Kuehl also gives figures about what taxes voters do favor
, and she briefly mentions the unhelpfulness of Grover Norquist’s famous desire to drown governments in smallish bodies of water, so read the whole thing.

Next up, she says, she’ll write about a painful but workable way to balance the budget.

Okay. We’re waiting.


PS: If you feel you absolutely must discuss our mayor’s dating habits, look here and here and here.


  • We gotta start a “Draft Sheila” Movement for CA Gov.
    She’s one of the few pols who really gets.

  • Adulterous Dem Mayor Dating Another Local Reporter, L.A. Times Leaves Out His Party Label

    The LAT is no stranger to omitting Villaraigosa’s party affiliation from readers, as we at NewsBusters have noted. The omissions are all the more glaring when contrasted to the paper’s treatment of scandal-plagued California Republican politicians.

    …As NewsBusters contributor Dave Pierre noted on September 11, Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s (D-Los Angeles) campaign violations and the corresponding punitive fine of $5,200 were buried on page B-4 of that day’s Los Angeles Times. The same squib failed to disclose Villaraigosa’s Democratic Party affiliation.

  • This is a Trajedy, and yet these commentators like Woody find time only to lewdly bash the Mayor (again).

    I would expect this level of compassion from only a hardened criminal, yet you find it in every single right-wing troll out there.

    Guess what is one of their favorite topics? LAUSD. Check out the open racism that abounds on places like Topix and FreeRepublic from the zillions of trolls like Woody who just love to dig into LAUSD.

    This only adds to the tragedy that we are experiencing, Live-time, for public education in California.

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