Democratic Spending Cap

Democratic Spending Cap

Unfortunately, California's legislature has failed to pass Arnold's bond measure and spending cap proposal before yesterday's deadline to get ballot measures qualified for the March election. The problem isn't just Democrats either: the Senate rejected the spending cap 34-0. California politics is complicated, however, and it looks like Arnold will still be able to get the spending cap onto the November, 2004, ballot by collecting some 800,000 signatures.
A spokesman for the GOP governor said that Schwarzenegger was disappointed in the Legislature and will take one of the two parts of his proposal -- the limit on spending -- to the ballot in November.

"He is disappointed that the Legislature won't even put his plan on the ballot so that the people can decide," spokesman Rob Stutzman said. ...

In reaction, Senate President Pro Tem John Burton replied, "If the governor is threatening to go to the ballot, then let him go to the ballot."
What's the disagreement over? That goes back to the picture I've got up above. The spending cap proposed by Arnold will have a 2004-2005 baseline of $72 billion, but the Democrats want the baseline to be $83 billion.
Stutzman said negotiations broke down Friday evening over the question of where to set the baseline for future spending. While the governor's proposal would have set it at $72 billion, Stutzman said, the Democrats would put it at $83 billion -- a cap that might not be hit for years.

"What fundamentally happened was there was distance on the base," Stutzman said. "Agreeing on the base is what really makes it a true limit or not."

But Democrats argued that setting the baseline at the lower limit would have locked the budget into the depths of the fiscal crisis, making it impossible to ever restore programs that are being cut.
That's not a bug, that's a feature. Furthermore, the Democrat President Pro Tem of the Senate doesn't seem to really understand the principles underlying the spending cap.
Burton said that it might force developmentally disabled children to wait for state services until an adult already in the program died.

"That's kind of what's wrong with any kind of artificial cap," he said.
See, it's not an "artificial" cap -- it's a cap based on the fact that there's only a limited amount of money available. Senator Burton wants a bottomless pit of money, but that's exactly the attitude towards spending that put us in our present crisis.

The hat in the image above says "Democratic Spending Cap", and Senator Rico Oller illustrates just how effective it would be by thrusting his fist through a giant hole in the top.



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