The GOP has no answer on the state budget


The Republican leaders in Sacramento have absolutely no solutions to the state budget problems. They're against the guv's tax plan for November, they're against raising any new revenue, they have their facts completely wrong -- and they have no alternatives to offer.

That's not me ranting, that's the factual evidence based on a fascinating radio interview featuring Senators Mark Leno, a Democrat who chairs the Budget Committee, and Republican Bill Emmerson, who is the committee vice-chair.

Leno is his usual reasonable self, saying that he knows there will be cuts and that the Democrats are going to try to figure out where and how best to make the reductions. Emmerson says:

1. That there have been "no serious cuts" in the past;

2. That the state budget is too big and growing;

3. That there should be no cuts to education;

4. That there are "places where we can make cuts," but there are no specific proposals on the table; and

5. That all of this will magically work with no new revenue.

Leno points out that the state's general fund was over $100 billion in 2008, that pre-recession it was projected that normal revenue growth and growth in cost of living and state needs would bring it to $125 billion by this year -- and that the actual state budget is about $85 billion. That's $40 billion less than it should be. There have already been massive cuts.

Emmerson wants to "fund education at last year's level," which is nice, but amounts to a cut since costs go up every year. And last year's level was way below what it ought to be.

But beyond that, he has no suggestions at all of what programs he wants to cut.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

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