Democrats Threaten To Pursue Cuts Targeting GOP-Led Districts
Some California Democrats say they would consider aiming steep spending cuts at Republican-led districts if GOP lawmakers refuse to approve a budget plan that includes tax measures, the Sacramento Bee reports (Van Oot, Sacramento Bee, 4/28).
Last month, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation to reduce state spending by $11.2 billion. The measures included deep cuts to several health programs.
Brown initially planned to close the remaining $15.4 billion deficit by putting a tax extension measure before voters in a June special election, but GOP lawmakers refused to support the proposal.
The governor now is considering alternative strategies -- such as a legislative vote or a fall special election -- to pass his tax measure. If his tax proposal fails, Brown has threatened to release an all-cuts budget plan (California Healthline, 4/13).
Details of Democrats' Strategy
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said he is willing to consider a budget strategy similar to the one proposed by State Treasurer Bill Lockyer (D).
Lockyer has said that an all-cuts budget plan could focus its spending reductions on the districts of legislators who oppose putting the tax measure before voters.
He said, "When it comes to kids or the vulnerable, I wouldn't want to make distinctions between who lives in a Democratic district and who lives in a Republican district, but when it comes to sort of basic services, convenience services that affect adults ... I have an open mind."
Neither Lockyer nor Steinberg has specified exactly which services would be affected by such targeted spending cuts. According to the Bee, it is unclear whether the strategy is a serious plan or a scare tactic.
Sen. Robert Huff (R-Diamond Bar), vice chair of the Senate Budget Committee, said he does not think Steinberg's strategy is realistic, adding that Democrats are "focusing on making Republicans feel heat."
GOP lawmakers say that if an all-cuts budget is enacted, Democrats should take the blame because they have been slow to support GOP budget ideas (Sacramento Bee, 4/28).
In related news, a recent Public Policy Institute of California poll found that 56% of likely voters think a special election on taxes is a good idea (Yamamura, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 4/27).
The poll also found that 66% of likely voters oppose an across-the-board increase in personal income taxes and 62% oppose hikes in state sales taxes (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 4/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.