I Love California Republicans

On January 7, 2008, in General, by Neil Stevens

California Governor Schwarzenegger is dealing with a self-made budget crisis (I told you so, and so did Assembly Republicans), as Gray Davis-level spending increases have led to a budget deficit just as large as the one Gray Davis left behind. He’s planning to deal with it by calling an emergency, which can force the legislature to pass a bill to re-balance the budget. He’s formally calling for spending cuts, but the Democrats want to raise taxes.

So guess what? Sacramento Republicans are signing a no-tax pledge, says the San Diego Union-Tribune and Republican votes would be needed for any Democrat-led tax plan. And we know they’re going to try for a tax hike. Just compare these statements from Speaker Fabian Núñez of LA and Republican Leader Michael Villines of Fresno. First the Republican side:

Assembly Republicans look forward to working with the Governor and our colleagues in the Legislature to address California’s growing fiscal crisis. Our state faces a projected $14 billion budget deficit and the recent passage of a $14 billion government-run health care program will make California’s fiscal problems even worse.

State spending has grown by 44 percent over the last 4 years. Hardworking Californians should not be forced to pay for the fiscal mismanagement of the Democrat party. When California families don’t have enough money to make ends meet, they assess their priorities, save for the future, and live within their means. Their state government should be required to do the same.

As we have said before, our state does not have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem and it must stop. Make no mistake, Assembly Republicans will not consider tax increases as a solution to California’s overspending problem.

I hope this special session on California’s fiscal crisis will bring all sides together to craft much-needed budget reforms that will prevent similar situations in the future. Only by reducing spending, living within our means and reforming the budget process will we bring California back.

Villines is nice and direct, identifying the problem and the solution. But Núñez is anything but:

The governor’s decision to declare a fiscal emergency recognizes the serious ongoing imbalance between the services Californians require and the resources available to fund them. Prior to the governor’s official declaration, I will be conferring with the Chair of the Budget Committee and other members of the Assembly as we prepare to do our part to address these problems. The Assembly is committed to working with the administration and the Senate. Now is not the time for drawing any lines in the sand or for hyperpartisan posturing that will make potential solutions more difficult to achieve. As I have noted previously, this state of fiscal emergency should strengthen our resolve to tackle major threats to the state’s general fund and economic well being by fixing our broken health care system and blunting the impact of the foreclosure crisis.

Our dear Speaker prefers to dance around without specifically saying what he wants to do, except for his highly careful reference to “threats to the state’s general fund.” He wants to raise revenue.

So yes, I love California Republicans. I just wish we could elect a Governor someday.


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