John Taylor: December 10, 2007
Fight. Fracas. Cutback. Logjam. Gridlock. Quandary. Of such words are headlines made in California politics in recent days. They relate to one or more of these topics: the state's $10 billion or so budget deficit; health care reform legislation; Proposition 93, which could alter legislators' term limits.
Reporters and columnists at the Sacramento Bee and Los Angeles Times draw the following connections and comments.
- Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez needs Proposition 93 to be approved by voters in February or he'll be a lame duck with limited power for his remaining days.
- Gov. Schwarzenegger needs major health care reform to be enacted, with buy-in at the ballot box, to establish his legacy.
- Nunez needs Schwarzenegger to openly support Prop 93 for it to have a chance. Schwarzenegger needs Nunez to drop his opposition to certain elements of the Gov's multi-billion-dollar health package. The closer Nunez gets toward health care compromise, the more likely he'll lose union financial support for his term limit changes.
- If the two men come together, it's still a snowball's chance in hell that the voters will OK either measure. The only sure thing is a ton of advertising dollars being spent for and against.
- Oh, yeah, the deficit thang. State agencies have been told to prepare for at least a 10% cut in their budgets. And Mark Leno, chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, is advising that the only measures that move ahead should be the ones with the fewest bucks attached.
I'll give the sum-it-all-up quote, from the Sac Bee, to Tim Hodson who directs the Center for California Studies at SacState. Noting that election-year politics is fully at play, he says, "People will say 'Let's not have someone given the opportunity to look good.' "