Mar 16, 2011
Tensions in the Capitol increased dramatically as the first floor votes loomed on a budget crafted by Gov. Jerry Brown and majority Democrats. But as the negotiations intensified, the voice of the people — a cliche, but a nice cliche — was heard: Most Californians want a chance to vote on the budget, a new poll shows.
From the Chronicle’s Wyatt Buchanan: “A strong majority of California voters want a special election and support Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to shrink the state budget deficit by extending temporary tax increases for five more years, according to a survey by UC Berkeley and the Field Poll. Most California voters, however, would not support paying new or higher taxes to help close the state’s $26.6 billion deficit.”
“The poll showed 61 percent of all voters surveyed said they were in favor of calling a special election, and 56 percent of Republican voters surveyed said they wanted that, too. However, most of the Republicans – 61 percent – said they would vote against the tax proposal.”
More from the poll: About nine out of 10 lawmakers are either conservative or liberal, but only about half of Californians fall into those cagtegories, notes the Bee’s Dan Walters.
“That’s another way of saying that the state’s moderate Democrats, centrist Republicans and independent voters – half of the electorate – have only scant representation in the Capitol.”
“The stark contrast between the political dynamics inside the Capitol and the reality outside its impervious granite walls is one of the major impediments to timely and effective political decision-making. Those inside the building engage in ideological gamesmanship. Those outside just want politicians to do their jobs, even if that requires compromise.”
The eternal push by some Republicans to rewrite the state’s principal environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act, is gaining new momentum as five Republicans are demanding CEQA changes — the same Republicans whose votes Brown is courting for the state budget. The LA Times’ Shane Goldmacher and Evan Halper have the story.
“Sweeping changes in the California Environmental Quality Act would stand little chance of approval through the normal legislative process, which Democrats — environmentalists’ usual allies — control. But the governor’s budget cannot pass without some Republican votes, and GOP lawmakers see an opportunity to win long-sought concessions.”
“Environmentalists expressed outrage at the Republicans’ bid. Bill Magavern, director of Sierra Club California, said that what the legislators want amounts to a “wholesale gutting” of the law.”