The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

February 20, 2009
Niello and Steinberg defend the budget they helped enact
On Sunday, The Bee's Forum section will include separate op-eds from Assemblyman Roger Niello and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on the budget the governor signed today.

Niello discusses the reforms he and other Republicans sought as a condition for their votes, and explains why a resolution was imperative. An excerpt:

The consequences of not agreeing to a budget now were too severe and simply not an option. As California continued to face a severe cash shortage, having more bills to pay than money to pay them, the bus that is California's state government would have continued to go over the cliff and had a resulting negative impact on everyone.

The most disastrous scenario would have required IOUs to be issued for payroll and tax refunds, and small counties would have gone bankrupt, resulting in the complete stoppage of many services. There would likely have been health clinic and hospital closures statewide. Unemployment would skyrocket. At some point, the state's ability to issue bonds would completely stop and road construction and public works projects would grind to a halt.

Steinberg, by contrast, focuses on the agenda he hopes to pursue now that the budget nightmare is behind us, or at least put off for a few months. One item on his list is water:

California indisputably has a water-supply crisis. Drought conditions threaten the economic viability of its agriculture industry and could lead to shortages for communities all over the state. For too long, this has been a partisan issue. It's well past time to recognize that water shortages know no party. We must look for ways to stabilize our water supply using a variety of methods, and do so on a bipartisan basis.

To read the full versions of these op-eds, check back with The Bee's opinion pages on Sunday.

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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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