A creative way out of the state budget mess


With no Republicans willing at this point to go along with the governor's June election plans, Jerry Brown has quite the problem on his hands. There never really was a Plan B. And now he's got to find one, fast. He's already made the cuts, and they're awful. He's not going to get his own party to go along with much more. But it's legally dubious whether he can put taxes on a special election ballot without any Republican support, and he clearly doesn't want to.

So what's the best option? Well, the deep thinkers over at CalBuzz have a brilliant scheme. The idea: Pass an all-cuts budget, a devastating, ugly, puke-inducing thing -- then

gather signatures to place that on the November ballot, with a provision that if the measure fails the cuts will not occur because the 2009 taxes and fees will be re-instated for five years. As a practical matter, cuts can be delayed to occur after November. And costs can be shifted to local government for local responsibilities whether the measure wins or loses.

Then let Grover Norquist, Jon Fleischman, radio heads John and Ken and the rest of their not-our-problem cadre be forced to argue for the budget ballot measure while Democrats and labor argue against it.

It's much easier to get a vote against something in California -- particularly when that something contains provisions that nobody wants. A No vote means Yes on taxes and No on cuts.

Man, why aren't these guys running for office?