Back in March, the negotiations over the California budget blew up when GOP Senators released an infamous list of 53 demands–a wish list of items, some of which were unrelated to the budget, or that would actually make the situation worse.
Back in negotiation mode now, we have a new list released by the Senate Republicans–more streamlined (for example, restoration of funding for county fairs is no longer listed), but still massive with no less than 41 demands.
Senate Republicans continue to demand this 41-point wish list just to agree to temporary tax extensions to preserve funding for education, health, and other vital services. In just the area of health care, the cuts already made are resulting in a less healthy, less caring, less secure state. We shudder to think what additional billions of dollars of cuts would look like. All we need to do to prevent such added cuts, if the GOP Senators allow, is extend current tax rates, rather than letting some revenues expire and blow a hole in our state budget.
As part of the package, Senate Republicans are proposing a spending cap.
The California Budget Project examined the spending cap proposal against important criteria, and finds it falls short:
– The choice of a base year.
– The choice of an inflation factor.
– Whether it is really a cap masking as a budget reserve.
– Whether it is really a new infrastructure funding program masquerading as a spending limits.
As CBP reminds us, a spending cap has been rejected by voters twice in less than a decade. Ultimately, a spending cap would handcuff our ability to invest in the future and bring in federal matching funds for our health system and our economy. The GOP spending cap proposal doesn’t even take into account an aging population, medical inflation or other real and anticipated needs of California. Unless they have discovered a fountain of youth, it’s a deeply unserious, deeply destructive proposal.