Just for the record, since I get asked this a lot: the reason I’m not writing about the California budget mess, even though I live in California, is because I just can’t stand to. Sorry. If you ever thought there was a group of lawmakers who could make the U.S. Congress look like a sober, highminded deliberative body, the clowns in Sacramento are them.
In case you’re interested, here’s the latest. No budget agreement is on the horizon, but on June 29 Dems tried to pass a bill that would have saved a bit of money. It was a technical measure related to how education money is distributed via Proposition 98, but the bottom line is that it would have saved the state about $3 billion. It had to be passed before June 30 or not at all, but Arnold Schwarzennegger flatly refused to consider it. Why? Who knows. No “piecemeal” budgeting, he says. He wants an entire budget all at once that slashes $24 billion without increasing taxes so much as a dime, or nothing at all. Why? Again, who knows? It’s like trying to figure out a five year old.
So, anyway, our gargantuan budget deficit, much of it caused by almost lunatic irresponsibility on Schwarzenegger’s part in the first place, is now about $3 billion higher because of further lunatic irresponsibility on Schwarzenegger’s part. And while Dems may not exactly be heroes in this mess, at least they’re doing something. Proposing things. Trying to keep the state from resorting to IOUs for blind people. Hoping to do something to prevent our credit rating from going down the toilet, making our budget problem even worse. Something. Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger has no plans at all, and the sullen Republican rump in the Senate and Assembly just sits around and votes no on everything. No proposals, no ideas, no nothing. Just no, no, no.
Like I said, it makes Washington DC look like the second coming of Periclean Athens. Depressing. But if you really want to know more — and you’re a stronger man than me — check out the fine folks at Calitics. They’ll keep you up to speed.