Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kickin' the Can Down the Road, pt 2

They've done it. They found the "last Republican vote." Sen. Abel Maldonado from Santa Barbara has allowed the state Legislature to pass the emergency budget plan. The GOP may be the "party of the rich" in the popular mind, but it's the country club types like Maldonado who always vote for big government in the end.

Maldonado did not give away his vote for free. He had demands and they were met:

1. removal of the proposed 12¢/gallon increase in the gas tax. Well, that's OK. But all of the other tax increases - 1¢ on the dollar on the sales tax, increases in the vehicle fee/tax, and increases in the income tax - remain.

2. cancellation of legislative pay and per diems when the budget is late. Um, who cares? These are the sort of useless symbolic moves that impress good government types and no one else.

3. a June 2010 ballot measure to ask voters if they want open primaries for state officers. WHAT?! You could have asked for anything and you asked for "open primaries?!" Why is it anyone's business who votes for Democratic or GOP candidates besides the members of those parties? And what does this have to do with the damn budget?

There's a lot of voter support out there for someone who stands up to the bailout of bankrupt institutions like AIG, GM, or CA. But, clearly Maldonado is the one dumb son of a b**** who didn't get the word.
UPDATE: Maldonado is dumber than he looks. The gas tax was not removed from the budget. It was swapped out in exchange for a 0.25 percent increase in the state income tax rate, federal stimulus dollars and more than $600 million in line-item vetoes.

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