Sacramento Blows It

Image: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Image: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

As I opened up what’s left of the L.A. Times this morning, I couldn’t help but feel sick to my stomach. I almost lost my Captain Crunch after seeing photos of smiling legislators celebrating  a budget that offers meaningless “reform” concessions to state Sen. Abel Maldonado and  result in so much pain for so many Californians.

While Rome was burning, state employees got furloughed, thousands of people received pink slips, and hundreds of environmental, research and construction projects were stopped, leading to significant layoffs. Hip, hip, hooray!

Every civic crisis provides opportunity for leadership and reform. Elected officials blew it on both.

Schwarzenegger missed opportunity to impose carbon tax. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Schwarzenegger missed an opportunity to impose a carbon tax. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Where was the Climate Change, Governor, with a plan for a carbon tax?  He’ll never get a better opportunity in his few remaining months in office. Where was the legislature on getting true budget reform: two-year budgets, 55% threshold for budget approval, and changing Prop. 218 to allow local governments to raise flood control and stormwater pollution abatement fees via “majority rules” voter approval?

What reform did we get?  Pay freezes for legislators during the next annual budget crisis. That will solve everything.

I’m sure I’ll get accused of being naïve to even suggest these changes, but the magnitude of the crisis merits major reform. California’s budget should never be the butt of jokes for Letterman and Leno. We have plenty of other foibles that deserve their cutting satire.

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