Another high stakes game of chicken?
After more than six months, Gov. Brown has failed to secure the four Republican votes needed to give voters a choice on the budget. In order to meet their constitutional responsibilities, on June 15 legislative Democrats sent Brown a majority-vote balanced budget that enacts deeper cuts, while attempting to carefully mitigate as much pain as possible.
By vetoing the Democrats' plan, I fear the governor may be sending us down the same path as in 2009. At that time, then-Gov. Schwarzenegger played a high-stakes game of chicken for several months, but it was the people of this state who lost.
Under Schwarzenegger's strategy, the prolonged budget stalemate resulted in the state's inability to pay its bills, forcing the Controller to issue IOUs. State infrastructure projects were delayed or cancelled, throwing thousands of Californians out of work. Ultimately, the prolonged stalemate cost California taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, further worsening our fiscal situation.
If Brown can somehow convince our Republican colleagues to compromise on a realistic budget plan that includes new revenues or freezes existing tax rates, I would be delighted. But the Republicans' most recent demands contain gratuitous rollbacks of environmental protections as well as an unworkable permanent, hard-spending cap that would cripple the state for years. Because of these detrimental consequences, I more than likely could not support a budget deal that included these outrageous Republican demands.
I urge Brown to work with legislative Democrats to adopt a responsible, timely budget and then to turn our attention to the hard work of returning California back to economic health and getting our people back to work."
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State Sen. Noreen Evans represents the Second Senatorial District, including all or portions of the Counties of Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma. Evans chairs the Legislative Women's Caucus and the Committee on Judiciary.