The GOP has no answer on the state budget


The Republican leaders in Sacramento have absolutely no solutions to the state budget problems. They're against the guv's tax plan for November, they're against raising any new revenue, they have their facts completely wrong -- and they have no alternatives to offer.

That's not me ranting, that's the factual evidence based on a fascinating radio interview featuring Senators Mark Leno, a Democrat who chairs the Budget Committee, and Republican Bill Emmerson, who is the committee vice-chair.

Leno is his usual reasonable self, saying that he knows there will be cuts and that the Democrats are going to try to figure out where and how best to make the reductions. Emmerson says:

1. That there have been "no serious cuts" in the past;

2. That the state budget is too big and growing;

3. That there should be no cuts to education;

4. That there are "places where we can make cuts," but there are no specific proposals on the table; and

5. That all of this will magically work with no new revenue.

Leno points out that the state's general fund was over $100 billion in 2008, that pre-recession it was projected that normal revenue growth and growth in cost of living and state needs would bring it to $125 billion by this year -- and that the actual state budget is about $85 billion. That's $40 billion less than it should be. There have already been massive cuts.

Emmerson wants to "fund education at last year's level," which is nice, but amounts to a cut since costs go up every year. And last year's level was way below what it ought to be.

But beyond that, he has no suggestions at all of what programs he wants to cut.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised.


It's just that you don't like it. So let me explain to you what it is, and it has the virtue of simplicity so I feel confident that you'll understand it.

No new taxes

No tax increases.

Make across the board cuts until the budget balances.

Say what you like about it, but it's a perfectly clear, coherent policy.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

Reading comprehension must not be your strong suit. Did you see the part where the GOP leader said the he wanted "fund education at last year's level."

Posted by Anon on May. 16, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

I'm not defending GOP policy. I'm simply pointing out that they have one.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

You see how "fund education at last years level" and "across the board cuts" are contradictory statements, right?

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 17, 2012 @ 8:27 am

inflation is a cut in real terms.

That said, I'd prefer to see cuts in nominal budgets too. I don't think we can solve the deficit by merely not spending more. It's going to take more pain than that.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 8:41 am

"Conservative" policy is explainable by psychopathic impulses. Makes sense doesn't it? I mean, if they were willing to feel pain themselves rather than just experience total joy in watching others undergo such, they'd not be so opposed to tax increases.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 18, 2012 @ 7:31 am

But that doesn't make then wrong or irresponsible.

Posted by Guest on May. 19, 2012 @ 9:09 am

How do the wealthy "feel the pain" with your budget proposal. I thought you were arguing for shared sacrifice.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 20, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

How can it be that California has some of the highest income taxes (even before Jerry's proposed tax increase) and some of the highest sales taxes (even before Jerry's proposed sales tax increase) and still can't get its budget under control?

Prop 13 isn't the reason -- since our property values are generally higher than other states, we still pay a helluva lot of property tax. (I pay a lot more in property tax than my family member who lives in Austin who has higher property tax rates.)

Some states have no income tax at all and don't have anything close to our budget problems.

Posted by The Commish on May. 16, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

do - and my house is worth nearly three times what theirs is. Try living in NY or NJ - their property taxes are incredible.

CA is also highly dependent on income and sales taxes - which are themselves highly dependent on economic variables. The property market has been walloped by the recession so that + reliance on unreliable revenue sources mean the state is going through some hard times.

I understand and share everyone's concerns about public employee pensions and benefits. But I never understand why people take such glee in attempts to destroy the state's higher education system - which is one of the world's best and which has given so much to California. Sticking students with 20% tuition increases per year while bringing in more and more out-of-state and foreign students is wrong no matter which way you cut it.

Posted by Troll II on May. 16, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

the property tax revenues of some of the most expensive real estate on the planet, then something is seriiusly wrong.

And asking any of us to pay even more taxes so that public sector workers can continue their benefits gravy train is an insult and a travesty.

Can't pay - won't pay.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

If the tax increase passes - you will.

Posted by Troll II on May. 16, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

They drive economic activity elsewhere and neighboring States fall over themselevs to attarct disenchanted CA companies and individuals of means.

It's that Laffer Curve again - beyond the sweet spot higher tax rates lead to lower total revenues.

But don't worry about me. I have a doomsday plan to get out of dodge if this mania gets out of control.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

Why hasn't that happened yet? Alaska has very low taxes - I'm concerned they might lure Facebook away. Paramount just may take North Dakota up on that offer to move their lot to Fargo with a sweet package of tax abatements too. HP could end up in Texas and Genentech in Mississippi. Chevron just may end up in Iowa if it offers great enough incentives. Oracle to Tennessee.

It's just a wonder CA hasn't been left bereft so far...

Posted by Troll II on May. 16, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

be here, and in fact each of the companies you cited now invest far more elsewhere than in CA.

The only thing that you can tax that can't be moved is real estate, and prop 13 takes care of that nicely.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

As they're all, you know, GLOBAL companies who's investment should reflect a global outlook. It'd be quite strange for any company to locate its global HQ in California and then invest only in California.

Still, it's a wonder any of them chose to locate here or to keep their headquarters here because, as you've implied, this state resembles a third-world hellhole one-party dictatorship with a tax burden equivalent to Sweden in the 1970s. Since you've said the profit motive is always going to rule I just cannot understand why they haven't relocated to cheaper environs - places like Alabama or South Carolina or even Texas...

Posted by Troll II on May. 16, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

Apple just announced it is expanding its operations in Texas.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

They're a multinational company with global operations.

They also announced they were building a giant new global HQ in Cupertino. Go figure - companies do that.

Posted by Troll II on May. 16, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

No, but you wondered aloud when Apple would be moving out of state. The reality is they are moving out of state.

Posted by The Commish on May. 17, 2012 @ 7:49 am

No the reality is that they are building a new multi-billion dollar campus in California, hiring like mad in Cupertino and still have a majority of their technical employees here.

Is that what you define "moving out of state"?

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 17, 2012 @ 8:26 am

Businesses take taxes and regulations into account, but other things as well, of course.

However, I think it is dangerous for any government to just blindly assume that they can continue to raise taxes and not see any impact from that.

Companies move to Delaware and Bermuda for the very same reasons.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 8:40 am

I forgot you were the knower of all things. I know Apple is proposing to build a new campus in Cupertino. I know that large corporations that has operations in many places. I also know Apple is constructing a campus in Austin that will employ over 3500 people. If things are so wonderful here, why not just do it all in California?

Posted by The Commish on May. 17, 2012 @ 10:16 am

Big companies (wisely) never concentrate every single one of their resources in one area because it's a poor idea for many reasons - fiscal, safety etc... Apple designs its products in CA because the design aesthetic here fits their image. Its corporate structure is here because it suits their needs. If you want to design for Apple you are required to move to CA to do it. They do research elsewhere because it suits their needs. They build products elsewhere because that suits their needs.

CA will continue to be the HQ for many, many world-class companies because it suits their needs. This idea that a company expanding operations outside of CA indicates a disapproval of California is absurd and shows a real lack of understanding of the benefits of a diversified business structure in a globalized economy.

Posted by Troll II on May. 17, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

I guess I just don't have your business acumen given my "lack of understanding of the benefits of a diversified business structure in a globalized economy." And when CEO Magazine polled CEOs and rated California as the worst state in which to do business, they must have been speaking to a bunch of morons who don't have their finger on the pulse the way you do.

Posted by The Commish on May. 17, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

Including complaining about unions in state government - which is curious because I don't understand how the employee of the DMV being a union member means CA is a bad place to do business.

Anyway - Apple is not moving and CA is a fine place to do business.

Posted by Troll II on May. 17, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

You still haven't bothered to explain how building a new corporate HQ and hiring like mad means the same thing as "moving the business out of the state."

Just admit that you were wrong and move on. To do otherwise would be to make yourself look like an ass.

All companies are having a tough time hiring engineering talent in Silicon Valley right now. Maybe all those education cuts are coming home to roost.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 17, 2012 @ 10:41 pm

I guess I'll just have to be an "ass" in your eyes. But please read my post above since you're making shit up. I didn't say "moving the business out of the state." I said "moving out state." I am not under the delusion that a company as big as Apple picks up its entire company, tells all of its employees to sell their houses, pulls a thousand buses up to its HQ and announces 'hop in, we're moving!'

Moving jobs, operations, and facilities to another state is moving out of state. They are doing that. As are many other companies:

Posted by The Commish on May. 18, 2012 @ 7:19 am

Please describe to me one single job that Apple has moved out of state. Apple is expanding both in Texas and California (and other places), nothing has moved out.

Your article which you cite as a reference to support your point of view does not mention Apple at all.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 18, 2012 @ 9:18 am

3500 jobs in Austin, Texas. Those 3500 jobs are not in California. Do you kinda, sorta, maybe wonder why?

Posted by The Commish on May. 18, 2012 @ 8:35 pm

Of course it does. Earth to lefties: People don't like paying taxes.

We get sh#t in services in return. Anyone seen a pothole lately?

Posted by Guest on May. 19, 2012 @ 10:58 am

instead of futilely trying to self-medicate through internet bombast and trolling?

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 19, 2012 @ 11:46 am

Sounds a lot like Herman Cain's 9-9-9 deal. But anyways, you need to realise we are the 8th (maybe 9th) largest economy in thw world, and one of the only major exporters of goods in this country. A flat tax is not going to do anything.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 8:22 am

standard of most states. If you're minimum wage then, even full-time, chances are you'll pay only 1% in CA tax on the last chunk, and maybe nothing at all.

While the rates rapidly go up so someone on the SF average income of 70K pays top whack.

If anything, the problem is that the poor don't pay enough tax. A tax base has to be broad to be sufficient - there just aren't enough rich people to fund everything.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 10:37 am

... tax which ignores its regressive sales tax.

Just a favor to ask the overflow from SFGate hordes of lying Right Wing mouthpieces: when you post comments here that incorporate some item which is actually true would you please mark such with a string of asterisks, like this? *********


Posted by lillipublicans on May. 17, 2012 @ 11:21 am

You can argue that CA sales tax is regressive but then so are all sales taxes and VAT. That's just the way they are and you can move to Oregon if you wish, as they don't have a sales tax.

But various essentials are exempt from sales so its regressivity can be mitigated. Overall CA's tax code is very progressive.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 11:25 am

No it is not. You have no idea what you are talking about.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 17, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

It's other taxes are not, but then sales and property taxes by their very nature are not progressive. But they are broader which is essential.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2012 @ 11:03 am

Taxes as a percentage of income on the lowest quintile - 10.2%
Taxes as a percentage of income on the highest quintile - 7.4%

Again, I have to ask the question, why do you Right Wing Nutjobs continue to lie about such easily verifiable facts? Are you really so brain dead from watching Fox News that you don't know how to use Google?

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 20, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

Conservatives hate higher education. They are upset with the idea that someone might be able to succeed on merit, instead of on inherited wealth.

Ever since Reagan, Republican governors have tried to destroy the University of California.

Posted by Anon on May. 16, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

I imagine that's your specialty.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

Can you provide any counterexamples?

Posted by Anon on May. 16, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

under attack. So the onus is on you to show that and, so far, you have merely stated it not proven it.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2012 @ 11:04 am

The voters keep voting for more expensive things like lots of prisons with "Three Strikes Your Out." We warned you at the time that it would crowd out the University of California but you voted for it anyway.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 16, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

I'm not happy to pay for bodyguards and a security detail to protect me from an overly lenient sentencing policy.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

Crime went down everywhere in the country. The money spent on prisons was wasted.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 16, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

So I guess we need more of them, not less.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 7:07 am

If you keep doing something that isn't working well, you will probably continue to have the same problems you are having.

Maybe we need to rethink our drug policies instead.

Given the choice between "continuing to have a University of California" or "lock up more pot smokers", I am sure I know which California voters would prefer.

The child-like Conservative leadership in California continues to lie to voters and tells them that they can have it all. Grow up. We can't, we have to make hard choices.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 17, 2012 @ 8:34 am

was carrying so much that he was obviously a big dealer. I'm not going to debate drug policy with you but, at least with the Three Strikes rule, the voters have always supported that. People want violent felons locked up.

UC was traditionally very generous and fees were low, probably unsustainably low. That is now changing, and paying for college education is hardly controversial - even in Europe that happens.

And UCB is still only half the cost of Stanford. There's room for further cuts.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 9:14 am

Almost half of the people we have locked up are there for non-violent drug crimes, so I can understand why you don't want to debate drug policy. It might make you look foolish.

People want three ice cream cones, a pony and two blow jobs a day, too, but you can't have everything you want.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 17, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

If you dont like the law, then try and get it changed. But as long as it against the law to do drugs and you do it anyway, then you know the risks.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2012 @ 11:05 am