Brown’s budget reality
The Governor's speech had two objectives, underscore the seriousness of the state's financial crisis, and launch the debate to convince the voters that new taxes are necessary to help fill a 25-billion dollar budget gap. KUSI's Steve Bosh has more on the Governor's strategy to bring back California.
Brown set that tone in the campaign saying he has the political experience to change the culture in Sacramento and he's willing to make the difficult decisions at this stage of his life.
His first big decision came in his budget plan: 12-billion dollars in cuts, contingent upon 12-billion dollars in renewed taxes.
The Democrats don't want the cuts but they want the taxes, so Brown will allow them to lay the taxes before the voters if they first pass a budget with the cuts.
Can brown deliver the votes to move forward, or will he be another Arnold, or Gray Davis? Former State Senator Steve Peace attempts to answer this question saying, “the fundamental difference between Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger is the heft of political experience. The difference between Gray Davis and Brown has been the fact that he's been up in the capitol meeting with legislators one-on-one, face to face, and that's something we haven't seen for decades.”
Republicans see Brown's strategy as a repeat of Proposition D in San Diego, a scare tactic to pass a sales tax. It was backed by the Unions but soundly defeated by the voters.
Brown has called for shared sacrifice, including the Unions, but Republicans remain skeptical. He hasn't done it so far but if the tax issue fails the Unions have had their day.
Brown is a master politician. For now, he will not risk alienating the Labor Unions because he needs their help to persuade voters to extend the taxes on personal incomes, sales, and the vehicle license fee.
The down side is eight of the last tax increases failed, most by double digits. If the same happens here, we go back to square one, a position we know all too well.