The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

January 7, 2009
Why did the budget deal blow up?
BB GOV 21ST 0350.JPGThere are two competing versions on why budget negotiations blew up Tuesday between Democrats and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Democrats' version, laid out in this op-ed by Senate and Assembly leaders Darrell Steinberg and Karen Bass, contends that the governor kept changing the goal posts. They say the governor got cold feet about the Democrats' plan to bypass Republicans with a scheme to raise taxes by a majority vote.

Top aides in the governor's office, however, offer a different version. They say Democrats kept wanting to defer decisions on cuts to welfare programs and state payroll that will be needed to close a $40 billion gap. And they say the governor was clear, in agreeing to consider the Democrats' tax approach a month ago, that they would have to agree to his list for public works projects to be relieved of CEQA reviews. Democrats, they say, kept changing the goal posts on CEQA after that initial handshake.

The real truth is probably a mixture of these two versions. Now we will see what happens next. In their op-ed, Steinberg and Bass say that next week, they will vote on additional bills "that are even closer to the governor's requests." That sounds like a deal is not entirely dead. But that op-ed was written before the governor quickly vetoed their package, and both sides went into acrimonious spin mode.

It was ugly yesterday, and when things get ugly, politicians stop talking to each other.

Sacramento Bee Photo from 12/11/08 -- By Brian Baer

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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