LAT columnist Mike Hiltzik says the theme of the governor's budget-initiative campaign - that gridlock could be solved by more gridlock and more borrowing - was one big lie. He also cites the other lies that have dominated and debilitated California government: That we have the highest state taxes in the nation (as a percentage of personal income, California's tax and fee schedule ranks 18th in the country); and that the rich are unfairly soaked (the wealthiest residents shoulder the lightest burden of any income group). The real solutions to the budget crisis, he writes, are obvious.
--"Eliminate, or at least loosen substantially, the two-thirds legislative requirement to pass a budget or raise taxes. This rule has allowed a tiny Republican minority to hold up all budget progress unless its reactionary program is incorporated in the deal."
--"Remove legislative term limits. This ridiculous provision has reduced the Capitol to a nursery full of would-be legislators needing afternoon naps. Worse, it has sapped legislative leadership of its vigor."
--"Revise Proposition 13. Prop. 13 is often described as a tax-cutting measure, but that scarcely does justice to the damage it has caused. By rendering the property tax useless as a revenue device, Prop. 13 hit local governments especially hard. Key budgeting authority devolved from cities and counties up to Sacramento, where they have to compete with the state government for money. You want your streets paved or more teachers for your third grade? Stand in line behind the health department, or the corrections department, or Caltrans."