California finally passed a budget last night. The budget is devastating and will hurt just about every single Californian. It is the consequence of
February 19, 2009

California finally passed a budget last night. The budget is devastating and will hurt just about every single Californian. It is the consequence of two things 1) the recession put California in a deep hole 2) the structural way that California's legislature operates on taxes and the budget mean that a conservative budget is the only one that is able to be passed.

Dave has more details on the budget and the aftermath over at Calitics, but the fact still remains...

California's government is hopelessly broken. Republicans turned the budget negotiations into a hostage crisis by exploiting the rule requiring a 2/3rds vote of the legislature to pass a budget. Senator Abel Maldonado blackmailed the Senate into accepting even more spending cuts and an open primary that threatens progressive power as the cost of his vote for the budget deal.

California Republicans are an extreme minority. A party in exile. Rejected by Californians at the ballot box, Republicans have decided to take revenge by using the budget crisis to achieve their radical goals, no matter the cost.

Only TWO other states -- the small states of Rhode Island and Arkansas -- require a 2/3rds supermajority to pass a budget. But, ironically, it requires a 2/3 vote of the legislature to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to repeal the 2/3rds rule.

Since Republicans in the legislature will try to block that too, it is up to we, the people, to restore democracy to California and finally end the Republicans' obstruction. And the only way we can stop them is to repeal the 2/3rds rule by ballot initiative.

This is insanity. And it's made possible by the 2/3rds rule, which allows a small cabal of extremist Republicans to hold the state hostage to their demands, as they have done year after year.

We have to stop the insanity. The only way this madness will end is if we eliminate the 2/3rds rule. Please join the Courage Campaign and CREDO and take the pledge to support a repeal of the 2/3rds rule.

(full-disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign)

John Amato:

I don't understand why we don't have a gas tax in CA either. With the prices so low, people will not complain about it because they understand how bad conditions are and it would raise a ton of money. If oil goes through the roof again, then the tax gets rescinded. Rachel Maddow in the above video also points out the absurd problem that exists because property taxes are capped in California.

MADDOW: The GOP is also in exile in the great state of California, where Democrats have big majorities in both Houses of the legislature. However, California is turning out to be a test lab for what happens when the party in exile, the “party of no” can‘t get overruled. Legislative rules in California require a 2/3 vote on certain legislation, which means a few minority Republican votes are needed to pass the Golden State‘s horrible new budget.Why is it horrible?

Well, because California capped property taxes when I was five. I remember because that shut down my town‘s library for most of the week, not that I‘m bitter.With no real property tax base, California is instead really dependent on income taxes, and since people‘s income goes up and down with a lot of volatility depending on the state of the economy, California‘s state budget has ended up being really sensitive to economic downturns. And in case you hadn‘t noticed, this is to economic downturns what a buffalo is to a buffalo wing.

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