Moderate Californians like their checks and balances. Leaning toward the fiscally conservative side of the spectrum, we have historically found a degree of comfort in knowing a two-thirds majority is required to pass a budget in the California Legislature. The rule has provided the minority Republicans with some leverage and an ability to help keep runaway liberal spending at bay.
The Blue Dog has always thought this a reasonable provision in our state’s constitution and believed it worth preserving. But no longer. It is time consider a new position on this important issue.
The rationale? The Republicans themselves. Instead of using the super-majority constructively as a way to extract reforms and compromise, the Republican right wingers have repeatedly used it like Somali pirates wield their AK-47s — to take the state hostage.
The most recent example surfaced over the weekend with the state GOP voting down all six reform measures on the May 19 special ballot. The Governor and legislature — including a few moderate Reps — put Proposition 1A and the other package of initiatives as a compromise effort to curb spending in exchange for temporary tax increases.
Perfect? No. Progress and a necessary move in the right direction? Yes.
The California Chamber of Commerce, Farm Bureau and other Republican-leaning groups also agree and are supporting the reform.
By formally adopting its already known NO position, the state GOP has etched its irresponsibility in stone. The party ideologues have made it clear that they favor bomb throwing and scorched earth policies to imperfect compromise.
Yet, what they are doing is going to blow up in their faces. By shoving moderates away, the right wing is inviting us to embrace Democratic efforts to strip away the privilege of a two-thirds budget vote.
If the May 19 measures go down in flames, as predicted, the next move on the chessboard needs to be a push for a simple majority. It’s the only sane option left. The GOP has simply failed as a trusted steward of the two-thirds rule and deserves a simple majority.
The Navy SEALs spent a lot of time monitoring the behavior of the Somali pirates before they took action. The patterns of the right in Sacramento are pretty well established and predictable. So don’t be surprised if Californians pull the trigger and take away the weapon of choice from the state’s homegrown brand of political pirates. It seems the only way to rescue California from its perpetual hostage situation.