Finally! Democrats in the state legislature can no longer blame their failures on the California GOP. In the recent election Democrats gained a two thirds Supermajority in the Assembly and State Senate. With the new configuration of the legislature, Republicans are unable block any bill, nor can they overturn a veto by Governor Brown. In short the California Republican Party (CRP) is no longer a force to be compromised with in Sacramento.
The battle cry of Democrats “Obstructionist Republicans are ruining it for us all” is no longer a valid excuse for years of bad policy and performance. Democrats in Sacramento are now free to move forward with plans for more regulation and taxation to turn California’s economy around…hopefully. Convincing Jerry Brown to sign legislation is the only possible glitch for the liberals who control the votes.
“Beware of what you wish for” may become the new approach for the pathetic CRP minority. Instead of just being the party of “NO”, they may actually have to propose legislation and programs to oppose the majority in the legislature. In this way, it may be possible for them to groom credible candidates and policies to oppose complacent Democrats two years from now.
Meanwhile, back in Sacramento, with victory comes the spoils. What we can look forward to is:
- Public employee unions continue to grow and protect the pay and benefits of their members. If any concessions to their remuneration packages are to be made, it will be to throw new members under the bus.
- Environmentalists will want more laws and regulations concerning air, water, and air pollutions without concern about how these laws will affect business. Since most of the people in this camp are city folks, expect farmers to lose water rights to urban interests.
- With the passage of Prop 30, teachers will reap the majority of the extra funds being dedicated to education. Any pressure to make improvements in the underperforming schools will most likely come from local school boards.
- More band aids, postponements, and looking the other from the time bombs of unfunded mandates in pensions for state workers. Current political reality does not allow for much else.
But with their “mandate” from the voters, comes great responsibility for Democrats. The past “boogie men” of California, (judging from advertising in the last election) George Bush, Karl Rove, and the Koch Brothers, are no longer valid targets. And of course the “obstructionist” Republicans are now out of the picture as well.
From where will any opposition come to temper a runaway ultra liberal agenda of the California legislature? Most likely it will be from the cities and counties who have had their funding cut in the past by the revenue hungry State of California.
Gone is redevelopment money and much other funding from the state for infrastructure, prisoner confinement, and county medical services to name a few. In short the State has asked local governments to take on more responsibilities with less funding for what is often mandated spending.
What can governmental bodies such as Concord and Contra Costa County do to avoid taking the shaft even more? For one, they can publicly put more pressure on existing members of the Assembly and Senate to consider local interests.
Politicians including (but not limited to) Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (unopposed) and State Senator Mark DeSaulnier (token opponent) can no longer blame Republicans for their lack of action in tackling the problems of their constituents.
If the new legislature with its super majority cannot take care of business, strong opposition in future elections will be right around the corner.
Another bargaining chip for cities and counties is Vallejo and Stockton. Recent bankruptcies by these two municipalities are not only embarrassing, but a legitimate threat to the unstable “House of Cards” holding up the debt ridden state of California.
Having two cities asking for bankruptcy protection is one thing, but if more municipalities and counties take the same route, it would lead to economic chaos in the “Golden State”. Were further bankruptcies to ensue, the cost of borrowing money and bond interest rates will rise in all levels of governmental borrowing in California. Public employee unions, ranging from fire fighters and law enforcement—— and despite their best efforts to continue their budget busting ways—— would be hardest hit as benefits will likely be reduced in bankruptcy courts.
While local agencies will raise money for education and some local infrastructure improvements, they will no longer support parcel taxes for the unfunded mandates of poorly managed public spending.
Please take note Measure Q supporters. Kindly tackle pay and pension reform before putting another proposal before voters) With the majority of the electorate being adversely affected by the economic downturn in the past 4 years, they are not in a mood to give a blank check to Politicians, especially in Sacramento.
Smart Democrats in the legislature will understand this new reality. As such don’t look for ultra liberal San Francisco politicians like Mark Leno or “Mr. Nanny” Leland Ye to get their way with passing laws that increase state spending. If the truth be known, having the two thirds majority in the Assembly and Senate will pose greater problems for Democrats than “obstructionist” Republicans ever did in the past.
In the worst case, hopefully the Second Coming of Governor Jerry Brown will be the last, sane public servant left in Sacramento!