Passed Budget Could Still Fail

Okay, so the state legislature met the constitutional requirement of passing a "balanced" budget for only the second time in 25 years Wednesday, assuring that the members would not forfeit any pay courtesy of last November's Proposition 25.

But the budget battle is far from over.

Hemmed in by Republican intransigence over continuing the temporary tax increases the legislature passed two years ago, Democrats cobbled together another one of the legislature's infamous smoke-and-mirror jobs.

In an effort to close a $9.6 billion gap, the legislature did raise a little more than one billion in new fees and taxes.

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The rest was found through the massive cuts in public and higher education that everyone purported to loathe ($4.4 billion), spending cuts in other parts of state and local government infrastructure such as law enforcement and the courts, and $2.2 billion in dubious law suits unlikely to go the state's way.

Higher than expected revenues and hoped-for help from the federal government round out the rest.

If there were a patent on the "kick-the-can-down-the-road" budget process, California would certainly own it.

Attention now turns to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, who pleaded with the legislature either to put continuation of the temporary tax increases on the ballot, or make real cuts for all to see and understand.

The legislature would have nothing to do with the former--thank you, Republicans--and only did a bit of the latter--thank you, Democrats.

It's hard to believe that Brown will sign the budget, which is both deceitful and harmful to the state's infrastructure.

Should Brown veto the budget, the legislature will go back to square one, with the growing possibility that the parties will continue the dispute well into the summer. Sound familiar?

Meanwhile, K-12 public education, higher education, local governments will twist in the wind, as they commonly do this time of year, unable to plan for the fiscal year just days from now.

But don't worry--legislators will be paid.

More Prop Zero on the budget here.

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