Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The Power of One

It's about the California Budget Agreement. In the end, the Democratic majority had to accept the Republicans' budget, with no tax increases and deep cuts in education, medical help, Medicaid (or MediCal), subsidies to local governments, and others. In fact, under the agreement, local governments have to help bail the State out of its budget hole.

How did this happen? It was the power of 1/3 + 1 in the legislature and the power of 1 Republican Governor. By now everyone knows that the California Legislature labors under the quaint restriction that budgets and taxes require 2/3 votes in each chamber for passage. Everyone also knows that Republicans in California are required by party leaders to take an oath to oppose any and all tax increases in order to have the support of faithful Republicans in the primary elections.

Although the 2/3 vote is required for increasing taxes, it is not required for establishing or increasing a fee. With a sympathetic Democratic Governor, the majority Democrats in the legislature could have found the money to pay for education, medical care, and the like by establishing or increasing some fees.

Republicans in California should be happy to have the effective support of their Republican Governor. Howard Jarvis in his grave should be spinning with glee and happiness.

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