California and Minnesota: same budget battles, but different outcomes.
In both states, Republicans have refused to give in. In California, Republicans successfully fought off Brown’s months-long effort for a budget that included extending tax increases, so over the weekend, he turned to the Legislature’s Democrats, whose budget he had vetoed earlier this month, to hammer out a budget compromise they could approve on their own.
In Minnesota, a Democratic governor who sought to raise taxes on the wealthiest residents bumped heads with a Republican-controlled legislature, and their protracted budget impasse shut down state government just after midnight on Friday.
The California Budget Deal
Governor Jerry Brown signed a California budget on Thursday, June 30, approved by the legislature, that prescribes $15 billion in spending cuts in a bid to alleviate the crisis in the deficit-ridden state.
It was the first time in years that California has adopted its budget almost on time. Last year, lawmakers passed the budget of the richest and most populated state in October, three months late.
The sacrifices needed to bridge a $26.6 billion deficit will be very significant this year. Brown’s office noted that the cuts meant California’s public expenses as a share of the economy were now at their lowest levels since 1972-73.
Poor people will receive less medical care and welfare, disabled people will see fewer services, state parks will close and public university students will pay more in California under the budget that takes effect Friday.
But also Friday, the state sales tax will decrease from 8.25 percent to 7.25 percent and vehicle licensing fees will drop by almost half. Combined with the taxes that expired in January, an average California family will pocket about $1,000 this year.
Those are just some of the impacts of the new budget, which Gov. Jerry Brown finished signing today to close the state’s $26.6 billion deficit. Before he finished signing, Brown used his line-item veto authority to cut millions more dollars in spending for courts, transportation and educational oversight programs.
Meanwhile, In Minnesota
The broadest shutdown of state services in Minnesota’s history will begin early Friday, Governor Mark Dayton indicated late Thursday after intense talks over a new budget broke down among the state’s leaders.
Since early this year, politicians in St. Paul have been locked in a battle over how to work out a $5 billion budget deficit under a divided government. Republicans, who took control of both chambers of the Legislature after elections last year, called for cuts and reining in spending to the $34 billion that the state expected to take in over the next two years. But Mr. Dayton, a Democrat who was also elected in 2010, called for collecting more in income taxes from the very highest earners to spare cuts in services to the most vulnerable residents.
From The Washington Times:
Both sides spent weeks negotiating over how to deal with a projected $5 billion deficit. The talks, which continued in secret Thursday, included marathon sessions over the past seven days between Democrat-Farmer-Labor PartyGov. Mark Dayton and key lawmakers, trying to work through differences and create a compromise two-year state budget. But no such luck.
While Republican lawmakers put on a confident front Thursday afternoon and staged a symbolic sit-in in the legislative chambers, Mr. Dayton emerged from the statehouse Thursday evening telling reporters that a budget agreement was unlikely.
The governor, in a news conference late Thursday night, said he was committed to making it right, even as he defended his position, calling suggested Republican budget cuts Draconian. He described Thursday as “a night of deep sorrow.”
“I will continue tonight, tomorrow and however long it takes to find a fair and balanced compromise,” Mr. Dayton said, noting real progress had been made in the past few days but a fundamental divide over the revenue gap kept them from resolution.
“One basic difference remains. They don’t want to raise revenues on anyone and I believe the wealthiest Minnesotans can afford to pay more taxes.”
This dynamic is one which is apparently being repeated all over the country, at the state and national levels. Indeed, this statement mirrors almost exactly what President Obama reiterated today. Let’s hope he has better luck than Governor Mark Dayton.
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