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California’s 2010 Budget Season Represents Moment of Decision for Democrats

Created: 29 January, 2010
Updated: 13 September, 2023
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3 min read

 

   A recent Field poll found that for the past three years, Californians have reported being worse off financially than the previous year. This latest finding is a reflection of concerns about the Golden State’s general direction as well as the state of its economy.

   Indeed, as Sacramento’s 2010 budget negotiations get underway, lawmakers are again looking for ways to bridge yet another $20 billion chasm.

   Nevertheless, for Democrats, the new budget season represents a watershed moment in the history of their legislative governance.

   First, there is the new Assembly Speaker John Perez, whose resolve in the face of Republican obstinance toward new revenues is untested.

   Then there is last summer’s acknowledgement by State Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg that “we have cut enough.”

   “When it comes to cuts, as we go forward, enough is enough,” said Steinberg after acquiescing to a mid-year budget revision in July 2009 that bled an additional $16 billion from public service programs that a majority of California voters support. “I think the people frankly are going to want us to put back some of these investments as soon as we can.”

   Predictably, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s newest budget proposal promises more pain for Californians and is largely composed of ideas that were discarded during last July’s mid-year budget revision.

   It is now time to see whether the Democratic majority will rediscover the courage of their convictions in order to stand up for ordinary Californians.

Article - Uber

   In this, an election year, Democrats will have much more to lose by abandoning their values. When voters go to the polls, they will ask themselves, and rightly so, what is the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans?

   To help voters make that distinction, the American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is offering Democrats a short list of common sense proposals.

   Firstly, Democrats must acknowledge that California’s budget deficit is structural in nature and enact a budget that focuses on creating revenues through the closure and elimination of tax loopholes and giveaways that shift the tax burden from multinational corporations and the wealthy onto the middle and lower classes.

   Secondly, Democrats must reform the practice of using private contractors to perform public service jobs, especially when this is costing the state $35 billion a year.

   Thirdly, Democrats can enhance job creation by conducting a targeted examination of all current and future tax credits and subsidies that the state has been handing out and/or will hand out. The purpose is to keep track of where all our tax dollars are going to ensure that they are being put to good use. 

   If the federal government has a process for tracking all those stimulus dollars, then California should be prepared to bring the same level of oversight, assessment, and accountability to its own tax incentive programs.

   In short, by adhering to their values and acting on the courage of their convictions, Democrats have an opportunity to both differentiate themselves from Republicans at the polls and steer California away from regressive policies that will negatively impact the state for generations to come.

   Should Democrats lose their resolve in any of these areas, AFSCME stands ready to hold legislators accountable for their actions in this election year.

Article - Uber

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