17 February, 2009

Cons Out to Destroy California

There's insanity, and then there's this:

It sounds as though California is finally melting down politically:

"The state of California -- its deficits ballooning, its lawmakers intransigent and its governor apparently bereft of allies or influence -- appears headed off the fiscal rails.

Since the fall, when lawmakers began trying to attack the gaps in the $143 billion budget that their earlier plan had not addressed, the state has fallen into deeper financial straits, with more bad news coming daily from Sacramento. The state, nearly out of cash, has laid off scores of workers and put hundreds more on unpaid furloughs. It has stopped paying counties and issuing income tax refunds and halted thousands of infrastructure projects.

Twenty-thousand layoff notices will go out on Tuesday morning, Matt David, the communications director for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said Monday night. "In the absence of a budget we need to realize this savings and the process takes six months," Mr. David said.

After negotiating nonstop from Saturday afternoon until late Sunday night on a series of budget bills that would have closed a projected $41 billion deficit, state lawmakers failed to get enough votes to close the deal and adjourned. They returned to the Capitol on Monday morning and labored into the evening but still failed to reach a deal. They planned to reconvene at 10 a.m. Tuesday to go at it again.

California has also lost access to much of the credit markets, nearly unheard of among state municipal bond issuers. Recently, Standard & Poor's downgraded the state's bond rating to the lowest in the nation.

California's woes will almost certainly leave a jagged fiscal scar on the nation's most populous state, an outgrowth of the financial triptych of above-average unemployment, high foreclosure rates and plummeting tax revenues, and the state's unusual budgeting practices. (...)

The roots of California's inability to address its budget woes are statutory and political. The state, unlike most others, requires a two-thirds majority vote in the Legislature to pass budgets and tax increases. And its process for creating voter initiatives hamstrings the budget process by directing money for some programs while depriving others of cash.

In a Legislature dominated by Democrats, some of whom lean far to the left, leaders have been unable to gather enough support from Republican lawmakers, who tend on average to be more conservative than the majority of California's Republican voters and have unequivocally opposed all tax increases."

They need three (3) Republican votes in each house. They can't get them. And this despite the fact that the Republicans who have been negotiating have gotten a lot, including, according to the LATimes, "tax breaks for corporations".

Really. I am not making this up. With the state budget $41 billion in deficit, Republicans held out for corporate tax cuts, and then aren't even supporting the resulting bill.

What the Cons are doing to California is far beyond insane. They're holding a state hostage to their tax cut religion, and don't doubt they would do it to the nation if Washington worked by the same outlandish rules as California. They've completely broken with reality. Even Reagan faced up to facts and raised taxes, first on the state of California when he was governor, and then again as President. Today's Cons are so far round the bend they can't even follow the lead of their hero when their state and their nation are in desperate straits.

Robert in Monterey, who has been blogging the crisis at Caltics, pulls no punches in describing what they've become:

The Republican Party now exhibits the logic of a terrorist organization - willing to sacrifice anyone and everyone to their ideological purity. And it's worth noting that they themselves embrace that description, with one Republican Congressman equating their party to the Taliban. Rush Limbaugh says he wants Obama - and thus America - to fail; John and Ken and the California Republican Party are essentially saying the same thing about California.

Let the state fail, they say. Let all the schools close, all the health care workers be fired, all the buses and trains shut down, all the construction workers laid off. Let the economy collapse, because god forbid they step down from their ideological pedestals.

Republicans have become the party of no - no to economic recovery, no to fiscal stability, no to the very government they have sworn to uphold.
This is what comes of electing people who hate government and hate coastal California even more. The only question now is, what do we do to prevent them from destroying a nation?

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