By Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee
Mon, August 30th, 2010
The scheduled votes Tuesday on two disparate budget plans for California — one put forth by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the other by legislative Democrats — are fine as far as they go but they do not go far enough. There should be votes on many possible budget plans.
Tuesday’s exercise is designed to consider two different ways to look at spending plans for the state government and to take a measure of where those plans stand with legislators. The outcomes of the votes are obvious.
The Republicans will support the Schwarzenegger plan built around extensive budget cuts to close the $19-billion state deficit; the Democrats will stand behind their own plan, which features far fewer cuts.
As of now, the Democratic leadership does not plan to offer their complete plan for a vote. They are leaving out the revenue portion to balance the budget, probably because Democratic members of the assembly and senate don’t want to go on record for tax increases unless a package is certain to be approved.
Putting these two plans up for a vote may confirm where the negotiations are at present, but that will not offer a path to budget resolution.
More than the two plans should be voted on tomorrow. Legislators should face alternative proposals and maybe even pieces of a budget solution to see how they stand on different approaches to budget compromise.
In that way, we can see what proposals might move legislators toward agreement.
Just voting on the two major proposals that already have been rejected by opposing sides doesn’t move the budget ball forward. Voting on different packages of solutions might show a path to agreement.
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