Wednesday, December 24, 2008

WaPo Has it Just About Right

For those of you that are unaware, California is about to be flat broke. Yes, if the Governator and the Dems don't find a compromise on the 18 billion dollar impasse, Calif., will be out of money in two months.

Yesterday the Huffington Post headlined the front page "CA Bankrupt." The AP article that followed had a tamer headline "CALIFORNIA BROKE? State Could Run Out Of Money In Two Months, Says Official." While alarmist that doesn't make it untrue. The AP has been busy concern trolling recently so it's hard to take much of what they do seriously.

The Huff Post article gives a run down of the soap opera unfolding in Sacramento. Revenue needs to be increased, Republicans refuse ot raise taxes, Dems want to find a tricky work around that at may or may not be legal and Republicans refuse to meet to work it out.

The money quote:

"I prefer having my Republican friends at the table, and I prefer to get a two-thirds vote. But we do need revenue increases," he said. "To save California, I'm forced to negotiate just with the Democrats. This is the situation I am forced in because of lack of participation by the Republicans."
The Washington Post takes a more even keel and less brash look at the same issue by exploring the structural issues at hand and the reason for repeated drama in Sacramento.

Again with the money quote:

Yet students of California politics say both sides are prisoners of a system that constrains decision-makers while encouraging short-term conflict. Every state is required to balance its budget, but California is one of three that require a two-thirds majority for any tax increase.

If the parties got along, this would not be an insurmountable challenge. But state law encourages political polarization by allowing lawmakers to draw their own districts, which results in few competitive races except in primaries, in which strict adherence to partisan ideology is most likely to be rewarded. In the budget negotiations, for instance, GOP lawmakers are sidelined by their vow as a group never to raise taxes.

Much could be done if all parties would get involved. But then again, this is California and we're bound to repeat ourselves over and over again.

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