Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 – 8:38 am

Democrats now control all the strings in the state Capitol.

They can, at least on paper, do anything they wish without giving Republicans anything more than cursory attention.

However, sole ownership also means sole responsibility. No more pointing the finger at recalcitrant Republicans. No more excuses for failing to balance the state budget – especially since voters also provided billions of dollars in new tax money. No more ducking education reform and myriad other issues that have festered year after year.

The new taxes should almost cover the annual imbalance between state budget’s income and outgo, but they’re not enough to restore the health, welfare and higher education funds that have been slashed in recent years – especially if much of it is spent, as Gov. Jerry Brown prefers, on reducing $30 billion-plus in budget deficit debt.

Whether to spend the money on debt reduction or program restoration looms as a major conflict, since influential Democratic constituencies prefer the latter.

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