The NY Times has a piece up on the California mess, and a part of it just made me laugh:
A delicate budget fix crafted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders was on the brink of collapse early Wednesday after Republicans in the Senate ousted their leader. The late-night coup could derail already strained budget talks by requiring them to renegotiate with a new Republican leader.
The current package containing billions in tax hikes, spending cuts and borrowing took leaders more than three months to put together as the state tries to pass a midyear budget fix and avoid fiscal calamity.
Lawmakers viewed the leadership change as a major setback after they fell short by just one GOP vote, but Democratic leader Darrell Steinberg said he didn’t want to speculate what it would mean for the package.
”We’re after one reasonable person who puts California first,” Steinberg said as Republicans voted to remove Sen. Dave Cogdill.
Republicans replaced Cogdill with Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murietta, whom they saw as more capable of resisting tax increases.
A little off topic, but maybe not — Thomas Frank has an excellent new op-ed piece mocking the Beltway bipartisanship fetish.
kommrade reproductive vigor
We’ll see who laughs last when they get an IOU in lieu of a paycheck.
Hey, they have California gasping in lung-fulls of water already, why loosen their grip? The state still might have enough strength to climb out of that bathtub and hide somewhere. And the GOP will just have to find the shotgun. And that’s messy.
So what’s the genius master plan here?
Trying to drive people out of the state in advance of the 2010 census?
The California legislature, it seems to me, has a choice between tax increases and default. The Republicans have chosen default, and they have the votes they need. Haha?
The California constitution is seriously whack. Why on earth do you need a two-thirds vote for a budget?
@ dewberry: I’ve been wondering the same thing. It has to be obvious by now what’s going to happen to California, even to the GOP. What benefit can they possibly be seeing in this? I have a hard time believing that they actually want to destroy the state outright… mostly because I can’t figure out how that could possibly be viewed as politically advantageous.
Any Californians know?
So how soon after CA defaults does the US follow it?
Even the Chinese must have a limit to the risk they’ll take with US bonds.
Supposedly some of the GOP Senators here think that by going insolvent then the state can enact those deeper budget cuts that are needed to prevent insolvency. I admit I have questions about this order of events.
Because shutting down the government worked so well for Newt…….
California Republicans may be from safe districts whose constituents may punish them – but one wonders how much those same constituents will like not getting some of the services the expect. Time will tell I suppose, but if it turns out badly Republicans can’t go and whine for sympathy.
aren’t the GOPs just trying to get Dems to cut/eliminate a bunch of programs that they hate ?
once the Dems give in and eliminate programs X, Y and Z, the citizens will look around and notice all the new freedom they have; it will be glorious. in turn, they will recognize the GOP as the party which brought that freedom. and that will lead to a PERMANENT REPUBLICAN MAJORITY!!
Hey, KS ficksed ther buttjet probs, so Punchee getz tacks retern. wich iz nise.
@Punchy: s0 u n0 haz sad?
If the Governator wants shit to change he should, instead of furloughing govt employees, cut off payment to the members of the California legislature. When their own pockets are made lighter and they have to work for free, it might just set a fire under their asses. But then again we ARE dealing with wingnut Republicans so even that might not work.
The Grand Panjandrum
I see dead people.
@DougJ: I have never understood why the citizens of CA had the right to freeze property taxes in place. Gee, given the average citizen a proposition like that would pass in every state.
At this point, I really wonder who’s putting pressure on the Cal. Republicans. It’s hard to see most businesses, particularly the larger ones, seeing state default as a good outcome. And even in the safest district, state legislators have a lot of constituents who are public employees or who have state contracts or who just get state tax refunds, and these will all be really unhappy when they lose jobs, are furloughed, or get IOUs instead of money. Creating an activist minority who really hates you is not smart politics, history tells us.
Talk radio is making a huge push to pressure the Repubs, it’s true — and there is a substantial minority of wingers in most of these districts who will ‘punish’ any Republican who votes for a real-world budget, and these may be enough to tilt any primary away from an incumbent who compromises. But with term limits, a sizeable proportion of the legislators involved have limited futures in politics, anyway, and are more likely to be looking for jobs (in the hands of corporate interests, not wingers), so the rock-solid front in the State Senate is a bit mystifying.
Perhaps we’re seeing the consequences of past orthodoxy in primaries and elections: the Senators involved really may believe in their ideology, and may really want California to become even more like Alabama (terrible schools, poorly paved roads, no services — apologies to the parts of Alabama where this does not apply!).
But it’s still a strange and scary sight: politicians really not acting like politicians, and negotiating, wheeling, dealing, and getting what they can, but holding to orthodoxy despite the perils. At this point, it’s no longer about getting a ‘better deal’, I don’t think: they seem to want absolute capitulation because they have slighly over a third of the seats in the legislature. (Sound familiar, by the way?)
Gee, wonder why the CA Democrats don’t call the ReThugs’ bluff. Oh, that’s right, they’re Democrats (just like the DC ones).
Isn’t it time for The Schwartz to stand up, call a presser, and call his fellow R’s Girlie Men? Aren’t such childish insults part and parcel of his character?
Seriously, when you’re being clowned by your own party, you’re one hell of a shitty-ass governor.
I live in California and this impasse is not funny. I keep wondering where exactly the Republican leaders live. Idaho? I mean how come none of their constituents have brained them yet? We have state workers on forced furlough, layoffs, we’ll be getting IOU’s instead of tax refunds, *all* public work projects have to stop because there’s no money to pay workers. I hope one of them drives over an unrepaired bridge and ends up in the water and the others then see the light. Assholes.
I hate Prop 13 with a passion. It passed because you can put almost any damn’ thing you want on the California ballot (See: Prop 8) and if it passes then it’s the law and can only be undone by a counter-proposition or by a court finding that it violates the state constitution. In times past, there was a proposition to make the Prop 13 exemption inheritable and another to continue the exemption should the holder sell their home and buy a smaller on for their retirement – that’s how crazy it gets here. The truth is that the amount of discretionary spending in the CA budget is relatively small. The tax cuts and spending mandates passed during good times rarely included any mechanism to adjust things during bad times.
The Republican Party is feeling the effects of the Iron Law of Oligarchy: that is, their party has ossified with a select dedicated few in complete control of the organization. The problem is, this oligarchy is the anti-tax nuts of Ye Olde California Prop 13, the state amendment that forced massive tax cuts on property values and also created the 2/3s rule for budgets that is causing the state’s difficulties of the moment. This anti-tax oligarchy is obsessively convinced they cannot, dare not, think beyond the belief that "Tax cuts solve all ills": Thus are forced to either shoot down all possible budgets that will try to resolve the massive deficits, or else create more state budgets that cause greater deficits down the road thus adding to the ongoing downward spiral that is killing California.
Once enough Californians realize their crazy tax-cut obsessed neighbors have destroyed all vital services (no more libraries, no more road repairs, no more water pipe repairs, no more cops, no more firefighters, no more schools, no more child care services, no more anything), then maybe we will finally see an end to Prop 13 and a return to fiscal sanity. But I doubt it. Who here wants to watch the largest state in the USA lose its Bond ratings? Anyone? I’m sure Norquist must be thrilled…
The Grand Panjandrum
This should get a chuckle out of you as well:
With too few "reasonable" legislators left in California and even fewer rich people in the entire country its no wonder the economy is going down the drain.
The lesson here is that as long as the average Republican legislator or congress critter keeps talking we are going to have plenty of yucks. (Maybe a bit of gallows humor is in order these days, eh?)
Do you think sometimes Gray Davis just reads the papers and laughs?
Eventually the incompetentent bond rating agencies will get around to lowering California bonds as junk bonds. Then they can pay twice market rate interest, I assume that will make the Republicans happy.
Is it the Proposition system that throws CA politics and finances so out of whack? Every now and then someone proposes a system like that for MN. Lazy politicians like it because it gets them off the hook for making hard (or popular but stupid) decisions and Tim Pawlenty likes it when it works in his favor. It takes about 20 minutes to conclude its a really bad idea.
The Republicans want to do away with basic services. The movement away from public schools to private schools scares me.
Prop 13 froze the property tax (and is also is the reason why tax increases need to have a 2/3 supermajority to pass).
@PQuincy: They are true believers now. Logic doesn’t work when people are operating out of different axioms.
@The Grand Panjandrum:
She is just such a gift from Gawd, isn’t she?
I’m in California, and PaulW nailed it. You have a pathetic minority of rightwing lunatics, much like you have in the House of Representatives and the US Senate, with complete power by virtue of the 2/3s rule. Indeed, these extremists’ sole strategy is hanging on to that single seat that ensures that no budget will pass without that one Republican vote. They have no need to be more inclusive or to moderate their platform. Indeed, California Republicans get more and more extreme every year. And they hold on to that one single seat.
The US Senate is also headed that way.
The Grand Panjandrum
@gbear: Cantor and Bachman are proof the FSM loves us and wants us to laugh.
2/3 vote required in Sacramento to raise taxes, yet only 50% required state-wide from the people to change the Constitution. And thus I can’t get married, but we’re going to fire 20,000 people. Anyone see an inbalance here?
When the GOP put Hollingsworth in charge last night, I went to his site to find out who he was to see if we had any better chance of a deal. I found anti-tax speeches, hunting information, and this: "Senator Hollingsworth is President of the Proposition 22 Legal Defense Fund, and was an official proponent of Proposition 8 on the November 2008 ballot, which protected traditional marriage in California." I promptly went to bed.
@Senyordave: California got lowered to a single A rating a week or two ago and now they’re just not issuing bonds at all. The logic being that if the interest rate is that high, its not even worth selling them.
@The Grand Panjandrum: …aside from the fact that they are involved in the decision making processes that define the trajectory of this country and all of that.
@Tom: So. Question. Why don’t Democrats ever have this much power when they are in the minority?
No way to get an "emergency proposition" out to the people for a vote?
"Our state will go bankrupt unless this asinine 2/3 rule is overturned — vote Yes on Prop 222 to fix California."
or even better
"The Republicans in our state’s Congress won’t allow us to fix the budget problems facing California — vote Yes on Prop 404, allowing for an emergency gerrymander and special elections. Because we need politicians who will do their fucking jobs."
I see what you did there.
Bob In Pacifica
zzyzx, you are right. The magical thinking has been that if you cut taxes for the wealthy and loot the Treasury you will have more money in the Treasury. Because states’ ability to run on deficits is limited (mostly by bond issues), the crunch is hitting states even worse than the feds. That means Republican magical thinking is exposed more quickly at the state level.
California has been ruined by Prop 8. It was only a matter of time. For the last decade the budget has been held hostage by an increasingly smaller group of Republican legislators in Sacramento. At some point Republicans will slip under the one-third level or the law will be changed.
@DougJ: Let me tell you.
I lived in CA during the Reagan governorship, and the Jarvis tax revolt.
What you are seeing is the end stages of "drowning government in a bathtub." This was the intent, and the goal is to kill progressive government by strangulation.
It’s that simple, and it’s the same plan that the right has for the United States. It is working — if that’s the right word — in California, and they intend to make it work in other states. They intend to do it here in Arizona too and are well on their way.
Make no mistake, this is the O-line versus D-line game in the great political contest of the 21st century.
The people are going to need to decide that progressive government is what they really want, and then they are going to have to go to the polls and vote to make it possible, either by fixing the law or maybe provoking a constitutional convention in California. Whatever, it will have to be done, or else California is going to turn into a big version of Alabama.
Being totally serious here: what, exactly, do the "just say no" Republicans want? What is their counterplan to pay the bills?
@Svensker: What do they want? Ever read any Octavia Butler? The end result is social collapse, political collapse, environmental collapse, the reintroduction of slavery, fundamentalist religion as the basis for dictatorial police powers, and the entrenchment of an overclass that is beyond the reach of law enforcement.
Just like the good old days they are so sentimental about.
Maximum liberty for the few people who really count.
And why I care…? Because California is (was in 2007, may have been in 2008) ~13% of the GDP of the entire United States.
Assume for a moment a 50% crash in state GDP – which seems very likely right now. That’s 6 to 7% on the entire nation. Anybody who thinks the whole thing will stay in California isn’t thinking at all. (Not least will be the wake-up call in how we measure GDP. We use "annualized" which makes the increases look good, but also makes decreases painful. A ~6% loss in one quarter would be reported as -~24%. The consequence of THAT can be described in one word: panic.)
Cuts in "wasteful spending." You know: education, mental illness, fire and public safety. I’ve become convinced that the Republicans feel that their only chance to retake California is to turn it into Alabama.
Edit: Just realized that TZ already used the Alabama comparison. Just choose any impoverished Red State.
they want to eliminate the programs which create the bills in the first place.
Alabama not gettin much love here. Can we also trash MS and TN, too, for their best impression of a 3rd-world country?
To all the commenters from CA: I don’t know how to say this without it sounding trite, but I hope you all get thru this OK. I’ve been talking with friends of mine out there and they’re pretty nervous.
TZTP: I think Nordquist’s star may have drowned in the Mississippi when the 35W bridge went down, but Pawlenty is still owned by that movement and he’s still trying to pull the same shit on MN, but his support has become tepid even in the business community. We’re keeping our eye on him as best we can.
From Rick Hertzberg (sp?) appearance on either Suster or Hardball last night it sounds like he has a new piece in the New Yorker that is similar.
They are already the worst rated US state bonds.
By the way, California is the future of the US Government with the filibuster, Reid as Senate leader and a lunatic nihilist minority party.
We love Alabama the way we love any third world country. It’s an opportunity to turn it into an ally of the United States.
Then we can exploit its cheap labor and take cheap vacations along its seashore.
But we certainly don’t want Alabamans becoming a model for America. I like to think of it as a colony.
Yep. I get really annoyed with the casual conservatives who bitch about "tax and spend liberals", or reflexively vote no on every tax increase that comes their way. We’ve been under-investing for 30 years in everything that powers or protects this country (schools, roads, sewers, electrical grid, green technology, FDA investigations, etc). I trace it back to stuff like Prop 13 and Reagan.
But the only way it will change is:
1) Make it clear Republican policies fucked shit up.
2) Make a clear, affirmative case for increased and more progressive taxation and Pass the tax increases
3) Make it clear who stood in your way on #2
Democrats occasionally do #3, but none of the other steps. So Republicans fuck shit up, Democrats get elected to fix it, the public gets lulled into a false sense of confidence, at which point they elect Republicans who promise a free lunch. Lather, rinse, repeat.
BTW – Didn’t the Governator’s predecessor get recalled for a far less serious budget crisis? Or for raising car tabs to close the budget hole? And what has the Governator done? Fuck shit up even worse – partially by repealing those car tabs :-)
Sure, Arnold’s more sane than the average Republican these days, but if he were intellectually honest he’d be taking to the airwaves decrying his own party, arguing that tax increases were required, etc. As I said in the first paragraph, we’re basically on life support ($1 trillion in infrastructure repairs needed, crumbling schools, aging electrical grid, crappy mass transit, healthcare we can’t afford) and all the GOP has is "1) cut services and taxes; 2) ????; 3) Wonderland!"
The California GOP is committing Sepuku with a rusty screwdriver. Wait till the rest of the states figure out their killing the golden calf, er, state and it’s really going to hurt them too. California has only gotten back 28 cents of every federal tax dollar. States from the Gulf to the Blue-grass are going to get awfully irritated.
Ahnuld replaced Davis because of the $16 Billion deficit; Now it’s $42 Billion. Gray Davis is sounding pretty good right about now
Part of it is that a super majority provision automatically works in favor of the reactionary party and against a moderate or liberal party. As moderates or liberals you may sometime want a new program and the reactionaries simply say no. But do you think the reactionaries care if the shoe was on the other foot and the mod/libs shut down the government for failure to pass a budget?
I wonder if the actual business community will ever realize their lobbyists are screwing them in the long run. If the Small/Independent Business Federation and Chamber of Commerce weren’t run by libertarians/wingnuts they’d get behind progressive taxation to cover good infrastructure to help them operate smoothly and make it so employees can get to work. They’d also get behind nationalized healthcare, which would lower their costs and make their employees healthier/more secure (which would make the employees more productive).
If the business lobbies ever think even mildly long-term, Republicans are toast.
Brick Oven Bill
I visit California occasionally, and was there two springs ago. I enjoy rental cars and recall that my car that trip was a Chevy Cobalt. The meeting was with an associate on a real estate deal, which was falling apart. This was a really good guy who looked like a linebacker. I am concerned about his very nice family, as he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was fired shortly after this meeting.
The meeting was at a truck stop café on I-5, exit 485. There was an older van with a Si Se Puede! bumper sticker in the parking lot. We exchanged paperwork and words. My basic motel room cost more than $100.
Driving back Maria Schriver’s voice was on the radio. She had purchased airtime to tell people about a government handout that was available, and that they were not taking advantage of. Maria was launching a campaign where she would go to workplaces, and hand the money out to workers, so the workers did not need to come in to apply for the money.
That’s what’s happening. They’re bitching about how the shitty roads and the cuts to education and healthcare have put business at a disadvantage here. Pawlenty’s response is to try to shut them up with more business tax cuts. More welfare for the moneyed class.
The reason why they are is because many businesses are run by wingnuts. You don’t need to look any further then Detroit. Anyone with 2 brain cells could have told you that Detroit would be insane to do anything other then full bore support Bill Clinton in his health care reform effort. Yet they helped sink him. Heck up until a few days ago one of the highest executives (Bob Lutz) in Detroit was dyed in the wool wingnut climate change denialist. And we expect Detroit to be able to plan for the future?
California is the perfect storm of stupidity…. ballot initiatives, term limits, and Arnold.
This is what I meant by articulating a clear, affirmative case for increased/progressive taxation. We let Republicans convince businesses tax cuts will help them, which they do only in the very short term. I’m all for tax reform if there are business taxes that are actually onerous/unfair, but generally speaking corporations pay less taxes now than any time in history, and certainly less of a share of the overall tax bill than individuals do.
Good point. My brother-in-law is that classic business wingnut (although he voted for Obama). Always railing about taxes, without thinking that he’d be completely out of business were the average person not able to, you know, get healthcare (he’s in the medical field).
At a guess, I’d say taking an ax to educational and infrastructure spending and then applying the Laffer curve and demanding yet more tax cuts.
Though I could be wrong and the Cali GOP is more sane than I give them credit for.
Third Eye Open
Can you imagine the surreal atmosphere of the negotiations?
"To begin, by a show of hands, how many of you folks believe that allowing the budget to implode during a generational economic disaster, would be a good thing?"
"Oh, man. This is going to be tougher than I thought"
California has a long history of solving one problem in such an extreme way that it sets up the next problem. The entire crazy "2/3 to do anything, but propositions are easy" constitution was itself an extreme response to the virtual ownership of the state government by railroad barons at the turn of the century.
Our ballot measures have almost entirely been like proposition 13: Genuine problem "solved" by enacting one side’s most extreme fantasy solution.
Thanks to the draconian term limits that passed in another proposition, the legislature is strictly amateur hour at this point—an assembly all desperate for nothing except election to the senate; a senate all looking for lobbying or state administrative jobs, and a budget process that gives them almost no control at all.
Come on . . . no matter how badly you mess up: run your company into the ground through sheer incompetence . . .snort coke until you melt your brain . . . get blackmailed by a two-bit hooker . . whatever it is, Daddy always comes with his lawyers and money and makes it all better.
Hey, it always works for them. Actually sacrifice and FIX shit? You gotta be joking.
the counterplan to pay the bills ought to start with ending the practice of paying for college for all state residents…
@steve: I rather assume you are joking, since this is in fact not the case.
@steve: Yeah. If there’s one place where the budget really needs to get slashed, its education. Seriously, why did no one think of this sooner? Raising taxes is for suckers. Stick it to the low income college student.
:-p Ned, I just assumed this was your standard "deregulate tuition rates" screed you see from every conservative. Cut scholarships, cut college grants, that sort of thing. State colleges do receive money from the state government after all. We can’t have that.
Mike in NC
Thirty years of American politics described in six simple words. And it seems to have worked well up until now.
UCLA gets 11% of their total funding from the state. The other 89% is from tuition, grants, sports revenues, and donations. It’s only barely a public university at this point. The other UCs aren’t far off.
Cali has the 2nd worst performing K-12 system in the nation, btw. When Prop 13 was approved, it had the best system.
I nearly choked when I heard the news of the leadership change on the radio this morning. I’m getting tired of laying people off.
Lol, yes CA repugs want to eliminate programs they don’t like? Which ones? We are talking 42 billion budget gap here. Right wing radio can cherry pick screwy programs all day long but it doesn’t add up to 42 billion. The GOP has no alternative plan that i have heard other then to let the MFer burn. F-em I say. Let the state go BK, no one gets a tax return, road projects stop, prisons stop, schools stop and 20,000+ people out of work. Then look at jerk off the legislator from fricking Murietta and say, now what, idiot.
God, this is when we need the National Enquirer to step up.
the state cant afford to pay for college for people who otherwise can afford it themselves…has nothing to do with improving or hurting education…california is completely screwed up bending over backwards to be everything to everybody…i hope the whole damn state goes bankrupt…of course theres is not an isolate situation as only 3 states have a budget surplus, n. dakota, wyoming and west virginia….californias is simply the largest…and of course a function of its handout mentality…when is that damn eathquake gonna hit!!!
You have no idea how California budgets work, do you?
Tell me, what "bluff" do you envision Democrats calling the Republicans on? Letting the state declare bankruptcy? Laying off another 20,000 state employees? Closing down schools because the teachers have been laid off?
What "bluff" are you picturing here?
Ronald Reagan ended that 40 years ago when he was California’s governor. Try to keep up with current events.
@steve: You are a fool and an idiot, and I hope you are told this on a regular basis by the unfortunate people who have to come into contact with you on a face-to-face basis, when they are not calculating the best ways out there to grind your face into crunchy underwear.
The 2/3 is to raise any tax. If they could pass a balanced budget without raising any tax, they could do it with a simple majority. Propositions work the same way; any prop that raises a tax requires a 2/3 majority vote, while the rest (including constitutional amendments, of course) require a simple majority. The kicker is that bond issues, which actually do reasie taxes, only require a simple majority because the supporters of the issue can claim "it won’t raise your taxes one penny." (Until we have to pay off the bond and the interest on the bond.)
Prop 13 was a reaction, okay a bit of an over-reaction, to a very real problem. People who had lived in their homes long enough to pay off the mortgage were seeing property taxes rise to the point that they were being evicted for being unable to pay. Passage of tax increases was out of control. Prop 13 as to home values is not the problem now, and the 2/3 requirement for tax increases is not the sole problem. Spending on many of the wrong things (too many prisons, overpayment of prison guards and state police due to union power, for instance) is part of the problem.
Gerrymandering is the real problem, combined with a closed primary election system. Republicans from conservative districts will not vote for tax increases because they will face a challenge in the primary in their district who will use that "pro tax vote" as a weapon against him/her. In a general election they could ride out that threat, but not in a closed primary, where only the most dedicated idealogical party members vote.
@Persia: I’m still awaiting California’s emergency recall election.
Note that cutting higher education is a penny wise, pound foolish tactic.
Businesses generally LIKE well educated work forces. Helps them be productive.
High tech/bio industries (you know…the ones the US makes money with) LOVE colleges, particularly research universities. They’re economic engines they can work with to get product to market (and sources of cheap interns).
Bill’s got a good bead on this — like the general state of things at present in the national economy, there’s a multiplicity of factors at work and easy demonization overlooks that. But since there’s clear intransigence on the part of the Senate GOP at this point, they deserve all the scorn they get — sadly, scorn is all that can be offered right now. Maldonado I suspect will finally cave but it’ll be a wrench to get there.
Ok, I live in Ca. Northern end. Problems as follows:
1.Prop 13,( the 2/3rd’s majority vote needed for any tax measure to pass), has not only crippled the ability to raise the necessary taxes needed for schools, infrastructure, etc, it has also spawned the popularity of too many-
2. Bond initiatives. More of them pass than you think which increases the debt and passes the whole problem onto future generations.
3. This also spawns regressive "Parcel Tax" initiatives which are the most insidious of all taxes since they are a flat amount tax that are charged against every parcel regardless of valuation. So older citizens, in older less expensive homes, or poorer neighborhoods, in a school district, say, that needs more revenue pay exactly the same amount of tax as the rich bastard multi-millionaires who control the Chamber of Commerce – who can be counted on by their school board buddies to kick a few pebbles, shuffle their feet, and write letters to the editor that say, "Dang, we don’t like this here tax, but it’s all for the kiddies, you know, so we all gots to vote for it". They look like good civic minded citizens that way without actually paying their fair share of the usual ad valorum tax that property taxes are based on only a fraction of it percentage increase wise.
4. Plus, of course, the legislature is about as corrupt as anywhere else and Arnie, though a dismal failure as Guvernator has a keen eye for the photo op that always makes him look like he cares. We do like our Hollywood celebs here.
God, I’d move in a minute, but where too? The climate here is outstanding and that is hard to beat when getting up there in years.
Thanks steve. And when we do get wiped out, where the fuck do you think your food will come from? Or pretty much everything imported from Asia and all of that Alaska oil. We’re 1/5th of the US auto market, the largest food producer and the nations largest manufacturing state. Just from L.A. south we produce more than the entire state of Texas. Not to mention, we subsidize almost every other state in the country on federal taxes.
I suggest that Arnold simply close the ports and state border to out-of-state traffic. I predict it’ll take all of 72 hours before the entire country is insisting that this shit get fixed.
Because Democrats are hemmed in by thinking that there’s an overriding good in the continuation of representative democracy and the success of a democratic government. Republicans think outside the box.
@maya: Again, explain why you don’t completely ditch the state property tax and move entirely to an income tax model. The only reason property has value is because it generates income. Ditch the property tax and raise the income tax. It’s a more progressive tax scheme anyway.
Don’t be bashing Arnold. He has pushed hard for a solution, has offered plans that would work, but has been rebuffed by both the Democrats and the Republicans.
He is not well liked by the Republicans because he is a moderate, not because he is incompetent. He is tolerated by them because he is nominally a Republican, so they have a political claim to stake there. What we are seeing is the battle for the Republican Party at play here. The ideological zealots who refuse to increase taxes regardless of consequence, versus moderate elements who, well, are just rational.
The Democrats have not helped matters much, but I believe they are hamstrung in efforts to meet the Republicans halfway due to the mandatory spending, non-discretionary budget items. Not that it would matter anyway, generally speaking, the Republicans simply cannot be negotiated with. Come on, they just ousted their own caucus leader because he was trying to negotiate in good faith. The Democrats don’t bear the burden of the blame in this matter, though they do bear some.
"Businesses" in California are not pushing California Republicans into this position. It’s two things; mindless adherence to ideology of course, and "business leaders". By "business leaders", I mean the people who have already made fortunes, and are on first name basis with their state legislators. The people who really have no interest in anything but their own personal wealth and power. The people who sip gin and tonics at the country club while bashing Democrats for their "tax and spend" ways. People who really just don’t want to pay any taxes whatsoever, yet think little of contributing thousands to Republican campaign coffers. These people instill a great deal of fear into their consultant legislators.
Prop 13 was passed because retirees living on fixed incomes were seeing their taxes raised so high they had to sell the property to pay the taxes. Yes, it was that ridiculous. However, the powers that be saw to it that commercial and secondary residence properties were given the same status as primary residences, in that the taxes are assessed at time of sale and not increased ever after. Nevertheless, rents on properties continue to increase with the market. The longer you hold onto a commercial property, the more valuable it becomes. That’s the part of Prop 13 that needs to be revised, but of course that is unlikely to happen.
Republicans have already proven on the Federal level they are perfectly willing to crash this airplane into a mountain and blame the Democrats. The Democrats just aren’t adept enough to stop them. It’s like having a madman Rutger Hauer at the controls, but the onboard air marshal is Don Knotts, and the M. Night Shymalan twist at the end is that everybody dies.
Among other things, a LOT of people in CA generate their wealth via property, not earnings. When you have land priced at $50M per acre with the expectation that services will follow, property taxes are very difficult things to not have. It would kill local governments in places like Newport Beach to have a zillion retirees dump their fortunes into multimillion dollar homes and only provide infrastructure funding from whatever meager taxable retirement income they earn. We’ve got entire cities based on that model.
zifnab. We do have income tax here. I have no problem with property tax, or an increase in same on an ad valorum basis. That’s where the State Legislature comes in and can’t get past the Repos and Libertarians.
You have all these special districts created here – school, fire, water and sanitation and those boards can act independently of the state to increase revenue but only on the parcel tax method outlined above. If they could enact an ad valorum tax initiative the CofC would be the first to start a lynch mob, though most people would go for it.
No shit. Their multi-year refusal to close the loophole on sales tax for yacht sales made that clear. Even with the budget this point, they still claim that asking yacht buyers to pay sales tax would destroy the state’s yacht industry. You really have to give up hope at that point. Steve thinks we should nuke education to save yacht buyers 7.75%.
Tim F Too
I also had a laugh at this for a different reason. When I saw the headline "California GOP Oust Leader Amid Budget Crisis" I thought, "Good. Maybe they’ve come to their senses!"
Then I read the story and I realized that the guy got ousted because he wasn’t derranged enough for their liking.
xoebe. Property taxes in Ca are not frozen and only increased on sale. They can be increased every year but only by a maximum 2%. That’s what Prop 13 did. They need to allow all the district boards to be able to put referendums before the voters that would be able to raise that tax, within the district, by the old ad valorum method. That "Parcel Tax" system is a real problem for a lot of property owners who have low value property and low incomes. It’s peanuts for the big boys who created that system.
I think we are really, really fucked.
ummmm, my food will come from my garden and farm….
Well, I heard an interview with a Northern Cal. Repub on NPR this morning; his problem was not enough gov’t. employee layoffs in the budget. After all, private sector is laying off all over the place, state gov’t. should too. Honest.
@steve: I wouldn’t trust you to know how to plant a weed, dude.
Oh, so when you suggested ‘fuck California’ you really meant ‘fuck everyone but me’.
Good to know.
What you said! Well, I’ve done my mite for all the good it will do. Wrote to Arnold, called the office of the new head of the Republican caucus. Spoke to a very nice lady there, who said that he would disagree with my contention that fiscal conservatism is not demonstrated by failing to raise taxes during a time of crisis, but by taking actions during good times to ensure that you can survive during bad times.
I’ll happily pay higher taxes, provided stipulations are in place that any excesses that may accrue during an upturn are set aside, not spent.
I’m an older college student going to CSU East Bay. What, you think the $1270 tuition,plus books, plus $5.00 a day for parking when I need to be on campus that I’m paying every 12 weeks is a free ride? I make decent money and try to live frugally so I’m paying out of pocket for my expenses. No corporate tuition reimbursement because the small business I work for doesn’t have the resources for that. I’ve not applied for scholarships or grants because there are students who are not as financially fortunate as I am. I don’t look for a free ride, and neither do many of the financially disadvantaged students who seek to better their lives through a college education. They seek a helping hand, and helping them helps us all.
Zifnab, the problem with income tax is that it isn’t hugely stable–when recessions hit, income tax receipts plummet. That works fine at the federal level, where the government can simply run a debt in recessions, but it’s a catastrophe in a state with a balanced-budget requirement.
California already relies on the income tax for most of its income. That’s how we went from a balanced budget to a vast deficit almost overnight when the recession hit. Increasing the reliance on the income tax would only make things worse.
California is a blue state that voted for that one. Hence the GOP must kill it so it never happens again.
Good, then he can be the first to get a pink slip.
Wile E. Quixote
Shut the fuck up about Reagan already. Listening to you blather about Reagan is like listening to the wingnuts blather about Clinton, neither of you knows what the fuck he is talking about. Reagan was governor of California from 1966 to 1974 and in 1967, in order to balance the budget in California signed into law the largest tax increase, by percentage, in the state’s history. Reagan did try to hold the line on government spending, after all one of the reasons he was elected was that Pat Brown didn’t hold the line on spending and put California’s budget seriously into the red.
Proposition 13 didn’t pass until 1978, 4 years after Reagan left office. You know who was California governor in 1978? Jerry Brown (subject of one of the best songs the Dead Kennedys ever wrote). Go do some research on why Proposition 13 passed, it wasn’t because of evil troglodytic Republicans out to screw the poor, it was because the California property tax system was broken and rising property taxes, combined with the inflation of the late 1970s, were driving retirees out of their homes. If you think that that’s acceptable collateral damage for pursuing a progressive political agenda then at least have the balls to say so instead of just squealing "Reagan. Reagan. Reagan" like some liberal version of the Republican fucktards who squeal "Clinton. Clinton. Clinton."
Wile E. Quixote
Dude, if California were like Alabama things would be golden because it would mean that instead of sending 1 dollar to Washington D.C. and getting back 78 cents in federal spending, which is what California currently gets, the state would be sending 1 dollar to Washington D.C. and getting back $1.66 in federal spending, which is what those lazy welfare-sucking reds in Alabama are getting right now.
California is taking it in the ass from the federal government. I’m waiting for a Democratic politician from one of the money areas, SF, San Diego or LA to say "OK, fuck you Alabama, South Carolina and Alaska, give us back our goddamned money. We’re tired of supporting you worthless Republican no-loads."
False. You need a 2/3 vote to raise taxes, and you need 2/3 to approve a budget, whether that budget raises taxes or not. Incidentally, you only need a majority vote of the Legislature to lower taxes.
Mostly false. All ballot measures on the
statewide ballot require only a majority vote, even if they raise taxes. Ballot measures on local ballots (city and county ballots) that raise general taxes also require a majority vote. Ballot measures on local ballots that raise special taxes (that is, measures that raise taxes for a specific purpose — like a tax increase for police or fire services) do require a 2/3rds vote of the people.
That’s quite the tired canard re: gerrymandering. In a state like California, you just aren’t going to have a lot of competitive districts — it has nothing to do with gerrymandering and everything to do with the fact that people tend to live next to other people with a similar ideology. Districts in Orange County will be overwhelmingly conservative, while districts in San Francisco will be liberal. That has nothing to do with gerrymandering.
On the closed primary issue, however, you do have a point. Unfortunately, an open primary system isn’t quite the magic bullet that many people believe it to be. Louisiana has an open primary system similar to that which is being talked about here in California now, and they still ended up with David Duke making it to the general election. Talk about extremists.
Ultimately, the state is doomed to have budget gridlock as long as the 2/3rds vote requirements for increasing taxes and for passing budgets remains in effect — that is, unless the Republicans’ intransigence on this particular budget leads to the Democrats getting to 2/3rds in each house of the Legislature.
Which explains why all of the provisions of Prop 13 applied to commercial properties and not just residential properties — because frail old grandmas were being driven out of the office buildings and apartment complexes that they owned by those evil property taxes!
You’re right about who was in charge when Prop 13 passed, and it should have wrecked Brown’s career, but you really can’t claim that Reagan and his pals bear no responsibility whatsoever in the nationwide anti-tax jihad that laid the groundwork for where we are today. Who was the one claiming that the Laffer Curve solved everything and that we would have massive economic growth if we just cut taxes enough? Hint: not Jerry Brown.
i dont plant weeds…tomatoes, onions, summer squash, zucchini, watermelons, peppers, asparagas and corn, yes…weeds no…and there plenty of fish and deer and turkeys and squirrels as well…i will say tho by late summer the weeds become hard to beat back…california and other states are reaping what they’ve sewn…those state goverments need to fail and start over…but they wont they will continue with overspending primarily through social programs they can afford…idiots
@steve: In your case, I suspect there’s definite evidence of educational underinvestment on the grammatical level.
Steve hasn’t heard that it’s 2009 out in his Unibomber cabin. I mean, he thinks that college tuition in California is free when it hasn’t been free for 40 years!
We might take you a little more seriously if you seemed to know anything about current events, but as it is, it sounds like you’d be shocked to hear that a B-movie actor became President of the United States. How crazy would that be?
thats it, attack me personally instead of facing the reality that california cant continue to spend as it has and survive…years of the handout mentality has finally caught up with the government and it can no longer afford to fund every social program some do-ggoder wants to ram thru as law…california likes to think of itself as on the front edge of progressive policies and ideas when in reality it is on the front edge of fiscal collapse….good luck in righting the ship, your gonna need it….
The Moar You Know
Surprise, suckers. There isn’t one.
@Xoebe: What you said. That Prop 13 applies to commerical and industrial properties is even more insane than me being able to inherit my parent’s tax rate on their house – which is exactly what happened, and the only reason I can afford to live here.
Mike in NC
South Carolina has the dubious distinction of having what must be three of the worst Repubs in public office: Senators Graham and DeMint and Governor Sanford. Fucking Neo-Confederates. Sanford considers a stimulus bill to create jobs and provide unemployment insurance and so forth to be "not morally acceptable" and "invasive economic action". (Easy enough to cop that attitude when your immensely wealthy, isn’t it?) So will the three of them will band together and refuse billions of dollars in vital federal aid to their state? How will the voters in SC react? Such profiles in courage…
@Llelldorin: Ah, well, now I know. Thanks.
@steve: Why do you talk with all those ellipses?
If it’s a moral issue, why aren’t they already refusing funding above the level that their taxpayers provide?
DougJ, you can do better spoofs then this.
@steve: Facing reality is something you apparently have little experience with, so I admit lectures on the point from you aren’t much of a schooling.
Still, I’ll grant you this: you believe only your own biases, have problems with complexity, think you are solely sinned against rather than sinning…and you’ve demonstrated this in a few short posts whereas before today I wasn’t even aware of your existence! I salute you for your efficacy in this matter.
The Moar You Know
@Zifnab: You know how people who are just very, very stupid take a long time between simple words because they need to think really hard about what word comes next? That’s why "steve", the dipshit who lives in a state that receives most of my income taxes and who would die of starvation without the food my state produces, puts all those…ellipses…into…his…postings.
@The Moar You Know: Now now, he wouldn’t die of starvation, he’s planted his squirrels already for the year. (He probably wonders why they keep dying, but it has yet to occur to him he shouldn’t plant them face down, as they then suffocate.)
thanks ned, now return to your daily duties
Never, because Uncle Sam can always just print money.
die without the food your state produces???!!!…you gotta be fricking kidding me….please lord put california out of its misery, and soon!!
The Moar You Know
@Ned R.: so…much…win
@steve: So, you do not debate my assertion that your state is a net recipient of California tax revenue. Very interesting.
Anybody who don’t know basic facts doesn’t have a reality to face, dear.
i dont know whether my state does or doesnt and i dont care….
california, like much of america cant live within its means….to many liberal ideas costing too much money….paying for too many illegal aliens…the list goes on…
The Moar You Know
@steve: NERD RRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Yes, he’s a lumberjack and he’s okay.
He laughs all night and drinks all day.
Dude, you think California is still spending money on programs that ended 40 years ago. Maybe you should name something current that they need to stop spending money on. No more public schools? Shut down all of the fire stations? Fire all of the cops? Please, share with us your wisdom about which public services Californians don’t really need.
And please try to name things that exist in the real world, not the fantasy world inside your head where tuition at California universities is free and California doesn’t supply 50 percent of the produce sold in this country.
@The Moar You Know: I just assumed it was a form of Morse Code. tap tap tap. tap tap. tappity tap tap.
@Mnemosyne: I’m personally of the opinion that California shouldn’t be handing out all that free pot. Why is the state government spending billions of dollars subsidizing drug addictions? You’d think they could save a whole bunch of money by cutting that program.
I’ll just take one of your assertions:
They did pass a budget with a simple majority quite recently, and they did it by relabelling tax increases as "fee increases." Arnold vetoed it because it would not have withstood a constitutional challenge, not due to vote count requirements, but because it raised taxes in reality and merely called them something else. But the fact remains, that they did pass a budget with a simple majority.
It’s Republican morse code:
"Tax cuts!" fap fap fap. fap fap. fappity fap fap.
Not to get in to too much minutiae, but the stuff that the Legislature did on a majority vote a couple of months ago wasn’t enacting a budget. Rather, it was proposed mid-year adjustments to the already enacted 2008-09 budget (though the press hasn’t done a particularly good job of explaining this distinction). Because that measure would have reduced appropriations from an already enacted budget without increasing any amount already appropriated, it could be done on a majority vote. However any bill — including the budget bill — that appropriates money requires a 2/3rds vote in California.
The bills that are currently before the Legislature would make mid-year adjustments to the 2008-09 budget, but would also enact the 2009-10 budget. As such, even if those bills did not raise taxes, the Legislature would need a 2/3rds vote, because the 2009-10 budget bill appropriates money that was not previously appropriated.
@Xoebe: Thanks for clarifying Arnold’s role in this mess. I voted against him in both elections, but I’ve come to appreciate how moderate he’s become after the defeat of his initiatives in that special election.
I’ve heard a lot of people put the blame on the Governor for all these budget problems, but Schwarzenegger has been negotiating with the Democrats in good faith. It’s the legislative GOP who are batshit insane and seem to be ready to throw the state off a cliff.
@gbear: I hope we get through this ok too. Any of us out here who keep track of what’s going on are dropping bricks out of our rear ends.
I think we need to raise the fees for unicorn hunts, myself. ;-)