Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lessons in Hard Leadership

Today California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the budget packaged passed Wednesday by the Democratic-controlled state legislature. In a press release, he stated:

Unfortunately, the budget I have received is not a balanced solution. It continues big deficits for years to come and adds billions of dollars of new debt. It also contains legally questionable maneuvers, costly borrowing and unrealistic savings. Finally, it is not financeable and therefore will not allow us to meet our obligations as they occur.
Now, let's be reminded that Jerry Brown is a Democrat. According to his political opponents in the GOP, he is a classic tax-and-spend liberal. So why is the governor using words like "costly borrowing" and railing against "billions of dollars of new debt"? You'd think he ran for Congress as a Tea Partier!

Republicans in the Assembly and State Senate are willing to go along with Brown's idea of a fall election on extending the higher taxes imposed under former governor Arnold Schwartzenegger, but only if Brown agrees to changes in the state's pension plan and limits on future state spending. Brown expressed willingness to go along.

California's state budget is unsustainable. Brown's willingness to make hard decisions is a good first step. Nothing should be off the table for at least an examination of where savings can be found and revenue can be generated. And Brown is right that local governments should have more autonomy so that they are not so dependent on state funds.

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