Thursday, July 2, 2009

Stranger than Fiction

Our Hollywood governor has a fine appreciation for drama, suspense, and blowing things up. I just wish he had an appreciation for happy endings.

We need the governor to find common ground instead of creating new divisions by demanding last-minute policy changes unrelated to budgeting. Take the proclamation of fiscal emergency he made yesterday. It demonstrates a use of creative license we expect from a team of Hollywood script writers, but not from a responsible governor. It shows a preference for fiction over fact.

The governor’s proclamation reads:
“WHEREAS California planned to borrow up to $6 billion through Reimbursement Warrants (commonly referred to as RAWs) to address part of the budget deficit, but this short-term borrowing is no longer an available option due to the recent decision of the federal government not to provide financial assistance or loan guarantees for this emergency, short-term borrowing.” (Emphasis added.)

The truth is the governor himself unilaterally revoked the authority necessary for the Controller to issue RAWs on June 11, 2009. See the governor’s letter here.

The governor’s proclamation also reads:
“WHEREAS On June 30, 2009, the Legislature failed to take action to pass a revised budget for fiscal years 2008-09 and 2009-10 to effectively address the unprecedented statewide fiscal crisis, thereby requiring billions of dollars in additional solutions.”

The truth is the governor actively recruited Senate Republicans to vote against the 3 bill package passed nearly unanimously by the Assembly which would have provided immediate cash relief to the state’s treasury. This maneuver cost the state an additional $7 billion. Finally, Democratic legislators bypassed the Republicans and passed a package of legislation by a majority vote which made deep cuts to services and altogether would have closed the entire deficit. When we sent the governor the first two bills worth $7.9 billion in spending reductions and $4.4 billion in revenue accelerations and enforcement, the governor vetoed them even though there were no new taxes.

California needs the governor to set aside political theatrics and help us get to a balanced budget. That’s the happy ending we are all waiting for.