Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Help the Legislature Help You, Governor

When the governor addressed a special joint session of the Legislature last week, he spoke with a cooperative tone and noted the urgency to take quick action on California’s budget challenges to avert a fiscal meltdown. But after this encouraging start, the governor’s follow up has been lackluster.

At that time, the governor said:
“I have faith in all of you [members of the Legislature]. I have faith in our ability to once again come together for the good of our state. Let’s move forward and put California back on the path to prosperity.”

But then, the governor upped the ante, saying he wants the Legislature to vote on a budget by June 15.

Unfortunately, the governor is not helping the Legislature meet the demands of his ambitious timetable. We have been frustrated in our efforts to get specifics from the governor about his budget proposals to close our $24 billion deficit.

For weeks we have been asking “Where’s the beef?” in Conference Committee. Budget decisions of this magnitude are not to be taken lightly or on faith. The devil is in the details and we are still asking for them. Just last night, we finally received the details about some of the governor’s big ticket budget proposals – such as taking nearly $2 billion from local government and saving $1 billion through getting flexibility from the feds in administering Medi-Cal. Yet, the June 15 deadline is only days away.

What has the governor been busy doing? Promoting the new $55,000 electric Hummer. The governor even wrote about it on Twitter..

As we bring closure to the Conference Committee process next week and attempt to meet the governor’s request for urgent action on the budget, I hope he will provide us with the information we need to succeed.