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Lockyer suggests mediator break state budget impasse


State Treasurer Bill Lockyer sure has some radical ideas about how to break California’s government gridlock.

Hire a professional mediator to facilitate talks between lawmakers and the governor. Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, maybe?

And craft two budgets – one for the liberal coast and one for more conservative inland regions.

“We’ll have the budget for the coast that has tax increases and services,” Lockyer said in a wide-ranging interview with The Times’ Sacramento bureau. “And in a bunch of other areas in Central and Southern California that don’t have tax increases … their public schools are closed a month of the year – and see what happens.”

He described the idea as a “genuine thought” that would allow Democrats their preferred solution of raising taxes and Republicans their preferred approach of cutting services.

“If people in Orange County aren’t going to vote for a state budget, I don’t know why you shouldn’t sell  [UC Irvine] to Google,” he said. “Why is there a DMV office in Riverside? Those folks ought to figure out how to go to L.A. at night to renew their driver’s license.”

Lockyer, a Democrat who was previously California’s attorney general and leader of the state Senate, said the state has had “an institutional breakdown.” He sees growing tensions between the Legislature’s majority Democrats and Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: “I would not be surprised if the Legislature’s response to the governor’s muscle is to say: Fine, shut everything down.”

He aimed some fire at GOP lawmakers, saying he believed there are “a number of Republican legislators that are gleeful about the state shutting down,” if that’s where the fiscal crisis takes California.

“In any other impasse of this seriousness, there would be mediators working,” he said, suggesting Shultz as a “potentially fruitful” pick.

In January, when lawmakers and the governor were stalled in the last budget fight, Schwarzenegger dismissed the idea of an outside mediator.

“I don’t think we need a professional mediator,” the governor said at the time.

Lockyer has an opportunity to pitch the idea in person, when he meets this afternoon with Schwarzenegger and state Controller John Chiang to discuss implementing the IOUs scheduled to begin going out Thursday.

-- Shane Goldmacher 

Photo: State Treasurer Bill Lockye. Credit: AP Photo/Jamie Rector

Comments () | Archives (21)

I gotta say, I kinda love it. If the poorer inland areas that vote republican don't want to pay more for state services, fine. No tax increases for you, but also no home healthcare, no welfare and fewer teachers. Much as I hate higher taxes, I am sick of a minority republican party holding the whole budget process hostage. Granted, spineless democrats who will not stand up to certain unions also bear a lot of blame.

A professional mediator is a good idea.

But a mediator's job is generally to persuade a majority to go along with a resolution. In this case, s/he will need to get 2/3 of both houses of the state legislature AND Ahhnold.

Before this is all over, I have a feeling there are going to be recall elections on state legislators.

Lockyer is on to something. California is essentially two states and the small right wing is very extremist and essentially holding the state hostage.

The leaders of our state govt during the 1980s-2000 were the architects of what is happening now - in addition to some bad ballot initiatives. It's funny that someone who arguably behind Willie Brown was the biggest creator of the trouble we are in would be advocating solutions. Bill Lockyer, maybe if we had less of your & Willie's "napkin deals" in the past we would not have such a broken system & structure - who was at the helm during the creation of all this. You, Willie, Burton, Vasconcellos - you are to blame.

Why not former Secretary of State Baker - at least he was known as a "fixer", which would fit right in with the clowns we have in the State Legislature

Lockyer is a halfwit. He still has not figured out CA's having the highest taxation in the nation is unacceptable. And the fact that the morons running the state still insist on raising taxes? Wait until the voters AGAIN let him know loud and clear what they think of the idea of raising taxes again. I do not see how the state can successfully get out of the mess they are in with the mindset of the tax and spend crowd sending them 90mph over the cliff.

Certainly the suggestion made by State Treasurer Bill Lockyer
seems nonsensical, but in this crazy state of California, it
makes sense to do as he suggested, give those who don't
want to pay taxes what they want. They are so certain they
are right. Put UCI up for sale on the internet and for those in
the inland empire, they can go in to the Los Angeles DMV to do their business. As for the parks, if shutting them all down
will save money, even though as was said on another item,
that for every dollar spent on the parks, $2.58 is gained, that
is not the point. It is the money saved, even if it is penny wise
and pount foolish, go with it.
Albert Benson

is lockyear nuts, or just a democrat?

I have a better Idea. Have all democrats and liberals sign up and we can take everything they have. and give it to the schools. The only problem is the schools would be back in 6 months wanting the rest. The Democrats have been destroying the state year by year and if it wasn't for the 2/3 requirement the only people left in the state would be teachers and welfare recipents. It is over but the liberals want to drag us down.

What constitutional article or state law allows state budgets to be enactted by mediation? California is absolutely dysfunctional and doomed. DOOMED!!! There isn't, or ever will be a solution now or in the near or far future to it's fiscal problems. California will just contimnue to slowly deteriorate and weaken and nothing will ever be done about it. That is only sure fact about it's future.

Let's have a much higher tax rate for democrats, then they can feel good about themselves. Those not registered as Democrats would be taxed less than they are now. It is time for CUTS.

Lockyer's best idea was to spread the cuts straight across the board this year and reshape things next year. Kill nothing. Cut everything. We would survive 27% cuts in every department.

Just balance the budget. Live within your means. Everyone has to do it. No more pensions, no more driving up in a lexus to get your welfare, no more free healthcare, no more rooms in jails for all those criminals we've jailed, no more cost of living adjustments, no more, no more, no more.... the well has run dry and face up to it.. you can only keep raising taxes for so long. Deal with the problem now and not later. You'll see how much BS is really out there. Suckaaa. I'm that close to leaving california. Give me and the countless others dying to leaving california a good reason. Enough businesses have already left. What does it take?

I have a better idea for Mr. Lockyer. Why don't we break up California into two states and the North can keep him. And they can keep all the deficits they impose on us and raise their own taxes all they want. Oh, first, build a large wall to keep them all from fleeing to Southern California. We will have true ID's to identify who really should be in our state. We will reserve our precious resources for all the people in our state (Southern California) that need our services, and deserve them.

Do I understand right that Bill Lockyer is going to pay for a mediator to help our legislators do... well, what they're supposed to do? Terrific! Thanks for paying that bill, Bill. But if you can't pay it, let's give a pink slip to every one of the citizens of this great state who have NOT done their job.

James Scott
Hermosa Beach, CA

Don't forget that Orange County has the lowest unemployment in the region along with the highest property values. Easy to denigrate OC but don't forget OC is successful in a state that isn't.

I LOVE this idea. Sign me up. The cut-crazy Republicans actually have districts with more services per capita than LA. I don't think they'll notice until those services are gone.

I'm really tired of watching the Republican minority blackmail and force the Democratic majority into solutions they KNOW are not a good idea.

So like I said: sign me up. Sign me up for the 15 dollar license fee so we don't slam shut state parks, sign me up for the vehicle tax going back to what it was, sign me up for the snack food tax--and leave our schools and colleges alone.

Get your facts straight! OC went bankrupt in the 1990s, and had their plate swept clean. California ranks 10th (tenth) in total taxes by state: http://www.census.gov/govs/statetax/05staxrank.html

California pays the most in taxes to the federal government and to support other less prosperous states. If not, then states, mainly in the South, would have to pay more in taxes to receive the poor services they currently have.

Jacob, go ahead and leave. The more that people like you leave California, the better off California will be. No one said paradise, like heaven, was cheap or easy to attain. Those who can't or won't pay, quit whining and LEAVE!

Heck, California isn't even in the top ten if you can believe Forbes:


If California had higher taxes, people would think twice about spending $500K for a 800 sqft house. Right now, Californians are getting what they vote and pay for. Relatively little for relatively little.

Raise taxes and dead weight will leave. Right Jacob? I hope they do...Head for a nice place like Vermont, Minnesota, Washington, Wyoming, or Pennsylvania.

I live in California and am a Republican. I personally think this state population runs 95% emotion and 5% logic. So much money is wasted on social programs and unneeded personal pet projects by our politicians. I hate to break it to my fellow californians, but raising taxes is only going to hasten the flight from this fine state.. and the people that are leaving are the ones with money. So raise taxes on nothing and let me know how much you have at the end of the day.. According to my math? NOTHING. The time has come for this state to quit spending money on every damn program some union hack has been lobbied to pass in our legislature and trim some of the fat. Oh and remember.. when people leave faster then they come/or born, property values will go down even more. So if your not upside down yet, you will be.

Have a nice day,


Oh yea.. and for those of you that think we should just stop services in communities that are predominately Republican, Fine. Lets do it. But know this, you can't take the money FROM these areas either.. Let them use the money they generate to pay for their services. See how long that lasts. I'm betting none of you that are for cutting services in say OC considered giving up the money.


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