California Democrats Float Plan to Target Budget Cuts on Republican Districts

Bill Lockyer
Bill Lockyer
How obstructionist is the California GOP? The “Party of No” affiliate in Sacramento is so dead-set against participating in solving the state’s budget woes, particularly resolving a $15 billion budget deficit, that it even blocked a ballot initiative that would have allowed California taxpayers to decide whether to extend a set of tax and fee hikes.

Even news last week that the state collected $2 billion more in revenue than had been projected — a windfall that was at least part due to the tax and fee hikes — did not convince the Republican minority in Sacramento to reconsider its position.

If the raised rates are allowed to stand, they could contribute as much as $12 billion toward closing the deficit. They are set to expire on July 1.

Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democratic majority in the Legislature have cut $11 billion from the budget, much of it from safety net programs that provide health-care and other services to children, the elderly and low-income residents.

If the extensions expire — as the GOP minority in Sacramento insists — billions more in cuts will be required to resolve the shortfall.

A poll released in March found that 58 percent of California voters supported extended the tax hikes. A more recent poll found just 33 percent of California voters support the GOP plan to resolve the deficit with an additional $14 billion in program cuts. (Interestingly, about the same ratio of California voters — about 30 percent — are registered Republicans.)

This prompts a question: If it is only California Republicans who want budget cuts alone to resolve the deficit, why then should the majority of Californians who oppose the cuts be forced to share the sacrifice?