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Who's to blame for collapse of California budget talks?


Talk back LA The blame game is already being played in Sacramento after budget talks failed.

Times columnist George Skelton put it this way: "It's another sorry saga in Sacramento: Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature botching the governor's Plan A for healing the bleeding budget. Who's to blame? And what now? The first question is easy to answer: Blame everyone and everything."

In a news analysis, Times reporters Evan Halper and Michael J. Mishak offered this assessment:
The Democratic governor and legislative leaders offered the GOP a rare chance to shape key policies -- and mitigate several that were forged on the other side of the aisle over more than a decade. GOP legislation was suddenly on the front burner. Rolling back government employee pensions, easing regulations on business, limiting the growth of government all seemed within reach.

The price for this potential bounty was four votes, the ones Gov. Jerry Brown needed to place a tax measure before voters. Not an endorsement of more taxes, just a vote to let voters decide the matter.

Today, after the collapse of those negotiations, many in the Capitol are asking whether, in declining to provide those four "ayes," the Republicans have cemented their fate as a dying minority party in this largely Democratic state.

Who is to blame for the breakdown and where do we go from here? Share your thoughts?

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown. Credit: Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (38)

Taxpayers are working families who are struggling to educate their children. The problem with Jerry's taxes is that it forces the taxpayers to continue to carry on their backs this vast entitlement machine that the unions have built up over the past fifty years. 100,000 state employees most of whom have nothing to do but hand out money to various clients. That may have been OK in the sixties, but it's unacceptable now when working families are struggling to pay their taxes and make ends meet.

For the Republicans, it's the principle of the thing. The entitlement machine is just immoral. We need to get it off our backs.

Let's see-

Our state Democrats include/control the Governor, Lt. Governor, the State Senate, State Assembly, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Controller, State Controller, Education (ahem), Insurance, Mayors of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Long Beach, Sacramento and both of our US Senators.

So obviously it's completely the fault of Republicans- right George?

(In no way should one ever infer that the LA Times is politically biased, even after reading this slice of leftist tripe).

The GOP has effectively disenfranchised voters by not allowing them to vote on the Governor's plan.
All so they can align themselves with unpopular, national, GOP agenda items. Taking power away from constituents...you have to wonder just who are they representing?

With Grover Norquist calling the shots, and enforcing the "no-tax" doctrine, the Republicans seem to have no policy but "NO." It's a mean road we're all going to be traveling, as we see our civil society degenerate into another version of Nigeria or Colombia, with an oligarchy behind its walls and everyone elso scrambling for the trickle-down crumbs. This is how democracies end, hoist on our own petard. (My underlying point is that civil cultures are all about nuance, about balancing responses to complex challenges. Not about doctrinal purity.)

It's the Democrats fault.

The intransigence on display in Sacramento and, earlier,
in Wisconsin, adds to the evident decision by the GOP to
cripple state and federal governments and reduce them
to junior executive bodies within a corporate nation. With
one exception: there'll always be an expanding role for
the military/intelligence complex on the federal level.
That nightmare combination will keep the IRS hounding
people of limited income.
Join the protest nearest you.

Claiming that Republicans have cemented their fate as a dying minority party in this largely Democratic state is totally incorrect. We have already seen how the Democratic Party runs Washington, that’s why the majority of Americans voted to replace congress with a republican majority. The entire California state legislature is at fault for not facing the reality of our states condition, and failure to represent the people. Of course unless it has to do with special interests. You cannot spend money you don’t have, and you cannot continue to sell bonds to pay for previous bonds that were not spent correctly. As long as the California state legislature keeps blinders on, and blames each other, our state will continue to move closer and closer to bankruptcy. Remember when our state of California was one of the largest economies in the world? Bring those representatives back.

Could the LA Times let us know what the proposal was - in detail. I'm not convinced that either party is doing much to reduce the budget.

This is a nearly impossible question to answer as unfortunately, once again, negotiations were conducted behind closed doors. Without any transparency, the only information "the people" will receive is biased rhetoric. On one side is Jerry Brown and the democratic majority blaming the republicans, and on the other side are the republicans pointing their finger across the aisle. Without unbiased facts, the general public will only be able to draw conclusions based on what they are told by the politicians involved.

I suspect that most people will side with whatever political party they affiliate themselves with and accept the "facts" that are presented to them by their party's leadership, regardless of what the TRUE facts are.

How strange that no one has made a comment about this issue. I can't tell from this article exactly what was on the table. I still feel Brown is pandering to the unions. Would that have changed if 4 votes were given for his ballot measure? What would be the cost of the ballot measure? I for one don't have to vote for new taxes. I need to see some cutting of the overblown budget now. These politicos won't do the right thing as they would be facing not being re-elected. Cut the massive spending across the board. It's that simple.

For over 10 years the Democrats have solidly controlled the California legislature and Schwarzenegger capitulated to them early on in his administration. Now to try and blame the Republicans for the mess they have created is typical of the Democrat party, do not take responsibility and try to blame others. They created this fiscal disaster with their tax and spend policies and now their chickens have come home to roost. It is also quite the irony that Jerry Brown created the public sector unions and now he is reaping the problems he sowed.

Who won't the GOP let the people decide? Do they think they know better than their fellow Californians? Is their hatred of taxes so acute, that they do not even went to give people the option of extending taxes passed under a GOP governator? What a bunch of clowns.

First thing to do is stop giving prisoners of the state free hormone replacement, transsexual surgery, organ transplants, cases of the food supplement Ensure, and any other unnecessary medical wants, they are prisoners, they broke the laws we have in place to keep our state safe, yea some of you may say they have rights but how far do their rights have to go?? At the cost of our budget? At the cost of the safety of the Guards, Nurses and staff of these many prisons???. Second, No One should receive any financial help without being born here in our great county, people who want to come to this county for a better life, then go to work and quit having 3 babies and collect on the welfare system, it was meant for people who are having a hard time and a temporary relief until you can get back on your feet , not a way of life, how about all the 19,20,21 etc that chose to take drugs never worked a day in their life and are collecting social security? Give them rehab and then send them out to work, let the parents take care of them, they brought them up.. Then start on all the state owned buildings that are not in use, SELL THEM OFF! NOW !! Believe me if you look hard you will see so much more that could bet cut and save our state

Lets put it on CSPAN so we call all see whats being discussed, negotiated and commited to. We elected these people to solve problems and it doesn’t look like either side is willing to comprise. Democrats refused the Republicans request to put pension reform and a new spending cap on the ballot.

Once again, its my way or the highway.

To Schiogolch-I woudl not call the workers in government the entitlement machine for the fact that they work for the government, but the programs that they work to distribute...that is where the problem lies. The workers work very hard and contribute to the tax base just as any middle class workers to in Cali.

The entitlenment programs designed to allow parents to do nothing while they accept benefits to live and eat with every single month...that is wehre the problems are. Welfare to Work is a joke... all a person has to do is go to the doctor and tell them they are hurt and they don't have to participate. We have raised generations of families who feel that their monthly benefits are their paycheck for doing NOTHING!

They sell their EBT cards for cash to buy drugs, and on and on. It's time to cut the entitlement services or at least align them with the rest of the country. Right now, once people have reached the Federal time limits on Cash Aid in other states, they come to california because we give them aid FOREVER...don't be fooled by the 60 month time limit. There are exemptions for EVERYTHING. Keep the Federal part, lose the California Safety Net Programs that have been added to the welfare system. They do nothing to help Californians a sa whole and only help people to become more dependant.

Don't think cutting jobs where people are actually contributing to the tax base is the answer. The anser is cutting the expenditures that don't contribute back.

Interesting that the problem with state revenues is framed around public employee unions and their salaries, benefits, and pensions. While some reform is needed, in particular within the prison system, it isn't just union members reaping the benefits of public sector employment. What about high paid administrators in every public agency and organization who do not belong to unions, make high salaries, and retire with the most expensive pensions. The UC system is a classic example of this.

Next, K-12 educators and their union protection are one of many scapegoats for the failing economy and education system in California. Teachers need the protection of unions given their interactions with children and the many naive and neurotic parents who don't have a clue what is required to effectively educate their children. What are the alternatives, here? School districts carrying malpractice insurance on all of their employees or completely privatizing education?

Lastly, multi-billionaires living in this State have access to every possible resource to avoid taxes. The cost of Meg Whitman's campaign was a disgusting display of wealth gone wrong. This woman, with enourmous resources and talent, could certainly give a lot more to bettering the economic climate in meaningful ways rather than running for political office in a system she chose to shun. Close tax loopholes for this segment of our population.

The problems are complex and the citizens of California are being held hostage by the tyranny of the minority in Sacramento and the special interests backing them.

I thought the GOP was the party of less Government, the party that fostered freedoms for people? So why not let the people vote on if the taxes should be increased.

I for one am tired of the Republican propaganda of less taxes. If we want to live in a country that is better than the rest of the world, we're going to have to raise taxes. I'm not sure why the Democrats are not willing to engage in this dialogue. The longer this debate is put off, the more the country is going to suffer.

In my opinion tax and spend is far better than borrow and spend, but then again I prefer not to spend on things that I can't cover with my income. Republicans apparently believe the opposite and yet blame Democrats for the deficit which is crazy since Democrats are the ones who try to increase income instead of using the state's credit card to cover expenses. Anyway what I don't understand is why the governor needs super majority approval to put this issue before the people of California for our vote. Schwarzenegger held special elections to try and get the people to back-up his agenda and I don't remember hearing any controversy surrounding his ability to do so.

In an effort not to throw stones at either party or person, these numbers don't lie.

Let's play, "Where's the money?"

In 1978:

The cost to go to UCLA was $712 a year, plus books, lab fees and parking. ($2283 in 2010 dollars)

The "penalty assessment" on moving violations was 10% and that was supposed to go to a driver training fund, for LAUSD.

The sales tax rate was about 5.25%

Property tax assessments were going crazy, under Phil Watson and people were on the verge of losing their homes, because of the "willy-nilly" nature of property taxation and assessments.

Finally, the amount of revenue generated from property taxes amounted to $5.6 Billion or $18.21 Billion, adjusted for inflation.

In 2010:
The cost to go to UCLA is more than $11k a year or about 5 times more than inflation. $11k - $2.3k = $8.7k

The "penalty assessment" is 400+% w/ no driver training funding.

The sales tax rate is now at 9.75% and gasoline is now subject to the sales tax.

Taxes are about 2% of the purchase price of property. Yep, some people have had their property for quite sometime, others, who purchase know what the price of taxes are, of what they purchase. Everybody pays the tax on which the property sells for, not some wild "you know what" assessment.

Oh yes, My numbers come from the State Board of Equalization. In 2008, they reported OVER $50 BILLION in property tax revenue alone. $50 Billion - $18.21 Billion = $31.79 Billion difference for one year alone.

Where's the $31.79 BILLION difference in money going, for tax years 2000-2010? Where's the dough? Better yet, where's the investigation and indictments?

By the way, CALPERS just announced that they will be able to make 7.75% on their retirement funds. I guess this means higher and more taxes?

Since when did the GOP become the dictators of California? Whether you agree or disagree with taxation, this is a fundamental breakdown of democracy. Pathetic...

A historical study of the depression era can give great insight to the issues of taxes and government expenditures.
The same arguments of the "benefits" of government were presented in all the newspapers, while "tax resisters" labored to organize and control the cost of state largess. Screams of "anarchists" and sedition were heard loud and clear from city halls and state capitals. All funded by the banks and insurance companies holding the warrants and bonds that required tax payments.
Courts ignored the law and labored to protect the status quo, regardless of the blatantly illegal actions of government.
In all the hubbub, rarely did any intelligent discussion of government, it's costs and benefits reach the public. Academics read arguments to protect their jobs at the university. Unions exclaimed how chaos would reign without police, fire and other civil servant duties being performed. Teachers went out in force to convince everyone to pay their taxes.
We have become so accustomed to government now, we gladly let our children be fondled at airports, emails and phone conversations listened to, taxes heaped upon fees that are piled onto new taxes for another new "must have" service. People actually believe government workers pay taxes "too".
Government is never productive- it is always consumptive. Their taxes are paid by out taxes- just like their salaries. While the argument can be made for certain services- it should never tout benefits or jobs because these are costs- not profits.
Every government expenditure is theft. Therefore, how much theft can you afford? How productive can you be, how much capital can you save for investment if half of your income is consumed by government?
Wealth is predicated on the ability to save and invest. Government expenditures diminish this opportunity. Thus, we need to make sure that ANY expenditure is worth the loss of wealth that comes with it.

I guess I'm dumb, is The state of Ca. trying to stop prop 13?

I guess I'm dumb, is The state of Ca. trying to stop prop 13?

This was a no brainer. Get your agenda through or at least on the table all for the votes that would have put tax measures on the ballot. Not actually raising taxes, but letting the tax payers decide for themselves. That last part is the whole point here. People deciding for themselves whether or not they can handle extensions of taxes they are paying and some temporary increases in others. You can always vote no, but the point about it is that voters make that decision. The GOP has lacked the intelligence of a houseplant on this one and in the end they will pay dearly. They are now no longer relevant as a party.

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