The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

I can has budget?

Just under 24 hours ago, sense prevailed over enough of California’s governing body that they finally agreed to pass the state budget (eight months late!) … thus allowing staff to continue working, tax returns to be paid, roads to be maintained, colleges to stop turning away students, and other generally useful activities to happen.

Apparently the local Republicans are so insistent on not raising taxes that they refused to vote for an emergency bill, without which the state was literally days away from going broke. So strong are their convictions that the last member to change his vote fears a backlash, and the first was dumped as leader — yet for all the bickering, the Republicans failed to present a workable alternative. Months ago, they proposed $20-odd billion in spending cuts, but the state was hit so hard by the financial crisis that that’s now barely half the deficit. (Today’s compromise combined $15 bn of cuts with $24 bn in taxes and debt.)

Lest this make the Republicans sound like the villians, I should point out that California’s Democrats are far from blameless — they refused to cut back on spending for months at the beginning of the dispute, and were largely responsible for getting the state into this mess in the first place.

And this is all apart from the practically Byzantine rules of California’s political system — rules that require a supermajority to approve spending (the same two-thirds approval needed to change the constitution), or rules that require a full-blown referendum for pretty much any tax change (and thus any big new spending).

I seriously wonder how anything happens around here, what with the state’s leadership caring so little for its welfare …

  1. You make it sound all very Gough Whitlam-esque, only without the hilarious character of Gough Whitlam.

  2. Actually, that’s quite an accurate description! :-)

  3. That, and they hate gay people… What a hoot!

  4. Luke, though you were probably kidding, be careful with the sweeping statements — saying Californians hate gay people because of Proposition 8 is like saying the 1999 referendum proved that Australians want to remain subjects of the Queen ;-)

  5. Please excuse me. The ‘they’ in my comment referred to “California’s governing body…” the predicate of your opening sentence.
    I was recently in Los Angeles and, while not representative of the Californian people as a whole I’m sure, found them to be some of the most open, accepting, progressive, forward thinking people I’ve ever met.
    For a this governing body to so voraciously amend alterations to the constitution arising from the In re Marriages Supreme Court ruling demonstrates a peculiar and demonstrably hateful attitude towards the rights of gay people, and indeed human rights all together.
    Perhaps it is unsurprising in the aftermath of the Iraq War climate for such profound injustices to be overlooked, or found irrelevant even.
    Let’s hope President Barack Obama and his Democrat contemporaries help usher in a new period of hope and enlightenment for the American people.

    Besides, when I kid, it’ll be much funnier…

  6. Ah! your comment makes much more sense if “they” is the government; my bad :-)
    (“we hate gay people” has been a running gag among my housemates for months …)

  7. Only in America….

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