One Cheer for Majority Rule


On Tuesday California voters approved Proposition 25, which streamlined our annual budget process. The LA Times explains:

[Jerry] Brown and Democrats will be able to jam through their own spending plan without GOP votes if they choose to; passage of Proposition 25 allows lawmakers to pass budgets with the simple majority that Democrats command. It will no longer be necessary that two-thirds of the Legislature approve.

In that way, Tuesday’s vote “is a tectonic shift,” said GOP strategist Adam Mendelsohn. “Republicans are going to have to think seriously about how to reestablish their relevance.”

A reader emailed last night to ask why I hadn’t written about this. The answer is simple: Prop 25 is a step in the right direction, but GOP strategists like Adam Mendelsohn are talking their book. It’s not going to do Democrats any favors in the short term.

Why? Because (a) California has a $19 billion budget hole and (b) we still require a two-thirds majority to raise taxes. So Democrats now have the unfettered ability to pass a budget, but only if they close the budget hole solely through spending cuts. And when they do, the blame will be entirely theirs. Republicans don’t really have to do any thinking about this at all. They just have to lick their chops and wait for the inevitable bloodbath to commence. If you’re wondering why the California GOP never really put up a fight against Prop 25, this is it.