Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
February 29, 2016 – 6:10 PM

  • Republicans provide votes for new tax on managed care organizations
  • With medical issue settled, attention turns to gas tax
  • Is there a deal on new transportation revenues?

When Republicans gained a few seats in the Legislature two years ago, they regained their power over tax increases.

Mostly, that has meant the power to block tax increases. However, on Monday, Republicans provided enough votes to pass a multibillion-dollar tax on managed health care organizations that Gov. Jerry Brown sought to continue maximizing federal aid for medical services to the poor.

It wasn’t that simple, of course. He and Democratic legislative leaders had to agree to spend more money on services Republicans supported, such as support for the developmentally disabled, and a laundry list of other items.

To hard-line conservatives, it was a betrayal of the 2014 efforts to bolster GOP ranks.

Blogger Jon Fleischman quickly tweeted a link to column in which he argued, “There is something particularly unseemly about a deal that involves the approval of a (list) of pork barrel spending in order to secure the votes of particular members – ranging from fire mitigation funding of over $100 million for some rural counties, to big bucks for a medical school at UC Merced.”

Just two Republicans, Bob Huff of San Dimas and Anthony Cannella of Ceres, voted for the tax in the Senate, while many GOP members supported it in the Assembly.

“It’s a pretty good deal,” Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee, said.

To read expanded column, click here.