Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Brown Delivers a Republican Budget without Republicans

In any other year, the new budget plan supported by Governor Brown and the Democrats in the legislature would have been considered a major victory for fiscal conservatives. Not only does the budget reduce vital services by billions of dollars, but it does virtually nothing to increase future revenues. In fact, in the great tradition of Californian governors, Brown can only make his plan seem balanced by projecting wildly optimistic tax returns, and if $4 billion new dollars don't come in, another round of budget cuts will be triggered.

What I do not understand is why the progressive caucus in the legislature did not try to block the deal and put on the table progressive solutions. Perhaps our only hope is that Brown will work with unions to put progressive taxes on a special election ballot. Brown has even hinted that he might support modifying Prop 13.

In terms of the UC, the news is mixed. We did not get the full $1 billion cut, but more reductions will occur if the rosy tax revenue predictions do not come to fruition. Of course, the total cut of $650 million will justify a new round of tuition increases and a faster slide towards privatization.