Not only did the California Legislature fail to produce a genuinely balanced budget this year, thus continuing a sorry tradition, but it also dropped the ball on other issues facing a large, economically troubled state.
Mostly, the 2011 session that ended early Saturday generated political favors by the dominant Democrats for their friends, especially those in organized labor. And in doing so, they displayed a penchant for sneakiness and secrecy.
Assembly Speaker John A. Read More
The Capitol — especially during the last, hectic days of any California legislative session — is a bottom-line kind of place. Its occupants, whether legislators or lobbyists, are entirely focused on passing, defeating or amending bills. Read More
In the last few days of the 2011 legislative session, as usual, it has been time for fun (nightly rounds of campaign fund-raising events) and games (figuring out ways to pass or kill bills). So here is a sampling of what has been happening, or not happening, in the last hectic hours: Read More
There’s no official definition of liberal government, but a fair description would be the activist use of official powers to protect and enhance the public welfare, however that may be perceived.The great political debates at all levels of government are over how deep that intrusion should be — such as the turmoil over whether the federal government should mandate purchase of health care insurance. Read More
It’s the economy, stupid.
Those words, coined by James Carville as he was managing Bill Clinton’s campaign for the presidency in 1992, encapsulate a basic axiom of practical politics, to wit: When the economy is hurting, it preoccupies voters, and politicians ignore it at their peril.
And that, in a nutshell, is why California’s Democratic politicians are suddenly and publicly pledging concrete steps to improve the state’s business climate. Read More
The California Legislature begins its sprint to adjournment with hundreds of bills still pending, with lawmakers maneuvering for positions to campaign on in much-changed districts next year, with lobbyists for moneyed interests packing Capitol hallways, and with dozens of fundraising events on tap to extract campaign cash from those interests.
It’s a yeasty mélange for the final two weeks, to say the least.
We know what the big conflicts are likely to be. Read More
The notion that California’s governmental apparatus is endemically dysfunctional has evolved from a theory into an accepted fact over the last generation.
Governors and legislators cannot even balance the state budget, much less address crises in public education, transportation, water supply and other pithy issues that abound in a very large, very complex and very economically troubled state. Read More
The new congressional, legislative and Board of Equalization districts drawn by an independent commission made a long-evident political reality official: California, once a Republican bastion, is now solidly, even overwhelmingly, Democratic.
Democrats will control the Legislature — with two-thirds majorities in reach — and the congressional delegation. And while it may not be impossible for a Republican to win statewide office it’s at best unlikely. Read More
Democratic politicians and liberal groups, including unions, often rail against corporate-tax loopholes as unjustified raids on the public treasury — as they should.
Loopholes are particularly troublesome during periods such as this one, when California state and local budgets are leaking red ink and basic public services are being slashed.
But one multimillion-dollar loophole draws vocal support from those who usually oppose corporate tax breaks — one that happens to benefit Read More
One of California’s longest-running political battles pits personal-injury lawyers against insurance companies and their business clients over rules governing who can sue and collect for what kind of injurious act.
The rivals have spent countless hundreds of millions of dollars on campaign contributions, lobbying fees, public relations operatives and other political weaponry, but that’s chicken feed compared to the multibillion-dollar stakes.
Milestones in what insiders call a Read More