UPDATE: Gov. Brown was unable to speak to the California Democratic Party convention because he was home recuperating from surgery to remove a basal cell carcinoma from his nose. Calbuzz wishes him a speedy recovery.
When Gov. Jerry Brown speaks to the California Democratic Party at their convention this weekend in Sacramento, it’s time for Krusty to lay out to his fellow Democrats just how he intends to lead the state out of its budget impasse and what role liberals, labor unions, environmentalists, minorities, women and civil rights advocates must play in the process.
Brown didn’t have to run for governor again. He could have kept his job as Attorney General for two terms and remained on the sidelines. Instead, he decided he had the experience and the know-how to bring Californians together to solve the intractable partisanship that has ground government to a halt in Sacramento.
How’s that working out? Not so great. After nearly six months of getting nowhere – except proving that Democrats were willing to swallow $12.5 billion in disgusting budget cutbacks in an attempt to meet Republicans half way – Gov. Gandalf is no closer to a solution than he was on the day he was elected. (Even though we have, at no charge, spelled out the Calbuzz Plan for Budget Reform and World Peace.)
Polls – from the Los Angeles Times/USC and from the Public Policy Institute of California – find that most California voters agree there ought to be an election to determine if temporary increases in sales and income taxes and vehicle license fees ought to be continued for five years to prevent further cutbacks. But getting two lousy votes in the Assembly and the Senate from the Republicans has proved a non-starter.
What worries California voters – and especially parents of public school children – is that cutting the budget further will hurt public schools, the PPIC poll demonstrates. Nine in 10 public school parents are concerned – 66% of them very concerned – that the state budget standoff will lead to significant cuts in K-12 education.
Three-fourths of those parents say the quality of schools will suffer if cuts are made.
Of course, California voters – including those public school parents – want someone else to pay for keep schools afloat: 62% of likely voters say they’d support increasing income taxes on the rich while nearly every other tax proposal bites the dust.
Meanwhile, Brown has an opportunity in his speech on Sunday to explain to his own people that despite the nasty cutbacks they’ve already allowed, they’re going to have to do more, on public employee pensions and budget controls to win public support.
We’d like to believe that if Democrats lined up behind those ideas for real, that the Republicans would met them half way. But as we’ve argued before, there is no evidence that Republican legislators have any interest in compromise, which many of them view as capitulation. They’re like birthers run amok: show ‘em a birth certificate and they want to see report cards. Brown has to accept the sad truth that until their constituents start applying pressure, no Republican is going to seek common ground on the state budget.
So, Jerry, tell the Democrats what they have to do. If you have a clue.
In the meantime, take a look into the future for public schools through the eyes of Calbuzz cartoonist extraordinaire Tom Meyer.