Tax and Spend: The Missing Link

The most recent Field Poll once again highlights the mystery of the California mindset.

The poll found that 66 percent of the voters oppose the automatic trigger cuts scheduled to take place in January if revenues fall below projections.

As of the moment, state revenues lagging behind projections by nearly $600 million, based on the collections in July and August--not a good start. If the revenues continue at the current place, the state may be out of balance by close to $2 billion by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the automatic triggers were put in place by the legislature last June as a way to pass a bare-bones budget, assuming that an additional $4 billion comes in during the current fiscal year.

An absence of $1 billion or more would trigger cuts of $600 million to higher education, health, childrens' and other social services.

Revenues that are $2 billion short will trigger even deeper cuts, including the paring of seven days off California's incredibly short school year.

With such cuts approaching likelihood, Californians are in a tizzy. But we wouldn't be here had different events transpired.

All during Spring and up until the passage of the 2011-2012 state budget, Governor Jerry Brown begged the legislature to place on the ballot a proposal to continue temporary income, sales, and motor vehicle tax increases expiring in 2011.

That never happened, in part because Republicans wouldn't provide the necessary votes.

But the ballot issue never appeared for another reason. The more the proposal was discussed, the more that public opinion turned against it, as demonstrated in a series of state public opinion surveys. The Republicans had plenty of allies.

So, here's the conundrum: the same public that opposed a potential ballot issue that would have prevented drastic cuts now opposes those cuts.

One of these days Californians will discover we can't have it both ways. Until then, people elsewhere will wonder just what's in our coffee.

Let us know what you think. Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @PropZero or add your comment to our Facebook page.

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