Last week, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and Department of Finance Director Mike Genest announced that California would not receive $10 billion in federal funds that would trigger cuts in California.
This means that California will not avoid the $1.8 billion in higher taxes and $948 million in program cuts.
Lockyer’s cover letter for his opinion had plenty written between the lines – and some written directly on those lines. He clearly recognized that, although legal for him to make the determination of the threshold, it was nothing more than the Legislature and Governor ignoring their obligation to make these decisions.
At least Lockyer is elected. Genest is an appointee of the Governor.
The reality is this:
1. Republicans in the Legislature did not want to vote for the tax increases and;
2. Democrats did not want to vote for reductions in MediCal optional benefits, CALWORKS reductions, and IHSS (In Home Support Service) restrictions.
The real outrage here is that the obligation should fall on the Legislature and Governor to make these decisions and take the heat for them. If things go well, they’ll also get the political praise that comes with it.
The budget deal this year made Lockyer and Genest do the job for them.
Members of the Legislature worked hard to secure positions in the Assembly and Senate. Once they get there though, they need to realize that the work does not end.
In fact, that is when the real work begins.