Dale Carnegie would roll over in his grave if he heard the salvo California Gov. Jerry Brown’s chief spokesman lobbed at Republican legislators, denouncing them as “basically moronic” in the state’s budget battle. Gil Duran made the comment over the lack of an accord as the Golden State’s fiscal year approaches on Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times’ PolitCal blog
"The Republicans in Sacramento are basically moronic. But we’re hopeful that they can realize we’re on an unsustainable trajectory here, one that is not fiscally responsible and one for which they are at least partially responsible," said Duran, who obviously could pick up a few tips from Carnegie’s classic book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
Brown wants a fall election on taxes and to extend vehicle and sales tax hikes that are set to expire Friday, PolitiCal reports. Republicans want pension, regulatory, and spending policy concessions in exchange, and they don’t want to extend taxes.
Duran also challenged Republicans' competence in drafting their policy changes, saying, “Those aren’t their reforms. They aren’t smart enough to write reforms. They don’t know the first thing about the details of reforms. We have to do the work. Those are our reforms.”
At issue is how to erase a $10 billion deficit for the year beginning July 1, the remnant of a $26 billion budget gap the state faced in January, according to Bloomberg News. Spending cuts passed in March and better-than-projected revenue narrowed the shortfall. Without a budget, the biggest issuer of municipal debt in the U.S. is unable to borrow on Wall Street to pay bills.
It’s a question of math, observers say.
“Brown can bring wisdom and experience to the table, but he cannot change basic arithmetic,” Jack Pitney, who teaches political science at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, told Bloomberg. “To balance the budget, politicians either have to cut spending or raise taxes, which they hate to do.”
Brown wants to extend temporarily more than $9 billion of tax and fee increases expiring June 30 until he can ask voters to retain them in a statewide ballot. If the taxes are allowed to run out, Brown would need to ask lawmakers and voters to increase taxes, not just preserve existing ones. Both the so-called bridge tax and the ballot measure need a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.
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