The governor scolds legislators for needless projects and risks alienating fellow Democrats to show that Sacramento would spend tax money wisely.
By Michael J. Mishak and Anthony York, Los Angeles Times
October 1, 2012, 8:40 p.m.
SACRAMENTO — The message was in the vetoes.
With a deadline approaching, Gov. Jerry Brown had hundreds of bills heaped on his desk, but just one key point to get across to voters: Sacramento had to take the tough medicine on fiscal discipline.
“California faces fiscal challenges unparalleled since the Great Depression,” Brown wrote in rejecting a bill that would have made it easier for the survivors of public safety workers to collect death benefits. “While much progress has been made to reduce our structural deficit, balance our budget, reform workers’ compensation and rein in spiraling pension costs — much work remains.”
In veto after veto, Brown cast himself as the stern parent, upbraiding a spendthrift child.
It was part of a broad effort to bolster the chances of his November ballot initiative, Proposition 30, which seeks billions of dollars in new taxes to help balance the budget. By demonstrating he was willing to say no to lawmakers, Brown could show that this tax increase wouldn’t end up squandered on legislative pet projects.
The vetoes angered some of Brown’s Democratic allies. But by the time the dust settled Monday, he had given his key liberal supporters just enough so they could declare some victory.
On immigration, he waited until the eleventh hour to weigh in. He signed a bill allowing hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses — but then vetoed another that sought to blunt federal deportation efforts.
Brown pleased labor leaders by signing into law a measure that helps establish a state-run retirement plan for low-wage, private-sector workers. Then he rejected measures that would have extended labor protections to housekeepers and farmworkers.
It was a delicate balancing act.
The amount of time and detail Brown invested in the typically mundane activity of bill signing underscored the urgency — and fragility — of the Proposition 30 campaign.
To read entire story, click here.