Here We Go Again

The state Legislature, controlled by the Democrats, passed a “balanced budget” before the June 15th deadline so they wouldn’t have to forfeit $261 a day in salary and $142 in payments for daily expenses as dictated by the voter initiative passed last year. Governor Jerry Brown was quick to veto it, stating the Legislature’s budget does not have long-term sustainability and would add billions of new debt (the state currently has a $9.6 billion deficit). The Legislature also approved a series of trailer bills that included a firefighting surcharge on rural residents which could have a direct impact on Ramonans.

Don’t expect an approved state budget before the tax extension deadline of June 30; as in years past, the two sides seem to be far apart with the governor somewhere in between. Brown wants to extend a series of tax increases that are set to expire at the end of the month and to hold a special election so voters in the state can decide the ultimate fate of the tax increases. The problem here is that Brown will need at least four Republican votes (two in each house) in order to place the measure on the ballot. The fact that Brown has vetoed the recently approved budget does not guarantee he will be able to negotiate a better bipartisan deal.

So where does this leave us? Republicans want no increase in taxes and to slash spending, putting a bigger burden on the cities. The Democrats want to cut social services, education, increase fees and taxes and hope that the future will be brighter to bring in increased revenue. The governor wants to continue with the tax extensions along with a spending limit, pension reform and changes in business regulations. The debt will not be reduced by slashing spending which results in the eliminating of jobs. The focus needs to be on controlled spending and initiatives that will create more jobs that increase sales tax, with less money going toward unemployment benefits. The bottom line is a thriving economy cures all. Why doesn’t the legislature get this?

Jeff Mitchell




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