California State budget press is on

There are more reasons to pass Gov. Brown’s budget proposal

Will state Controller John Chiang’s threat to withhold lawmakers’ paychecks if they don’t pass a state budget by the June 15 deadline get them to strike a deal? We’ll know soon enough.

Several factors have combined to increase the odds that Gov. Jerry Brown can convince at least two Republicans in each house of the Legislature to support his budget plan, including tax extensions. One is the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent mandate that the state reduce its prison population by more than 30,000 inmates in the next two years, something that will require funding that currently doesn’t exist. Another is the endorsement his plan received this week from the California Retailers Association, a heavyweight business group. And then there’s the impending release of new redistricting maps that may give some Republican legislators cause to pause in their unbending opposition to the tax extensions.

Unfortunately, Brown has a new problem: Assembly Democrats. They’re trying to reverse some of the recently enacted budget cuts, saying an improved revenue picture in recent months warrants such action. But this is more “spend what we’ve got now” foolishness. We don’t know what the revenue picture will be next month or six months from now, so the only wise thing to do is to bridge the deficit by following Brown’s plan.