No more red ink

When a state starts closing its parks, you know it’s lost its way. The recent news that the recently renovated Stanford Mansion and the Governor’s Mansion state historic parks in Sacramento will be closed in 2012 because of the state budget crisis is painful not only for locals, but also for anyone who believes in the importance of government programs and services.

Soon after announcing the impending closure of 70 state parks, Gov. Jerry Brown presented the May revision of his proposed 2011-12 budget. In doing so, he acknowledged that anticipated tax receipts are up in California by $6.6 billion, but he also pointed out that the increase represents just a fraction of the amount needed to close the state’s budget gap, which even with the increased revenue, stands at $10.8 billion.

That’s why, he said, it’s still necessary to maintain the current inflow of revenues by extending the temporary tax measures approved in a February 2009 budget compromise between Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature.

We’re not altogether happy with his revise. But the important thing is to get the state on the right track, and that means getting rid of the budget deficit for real. That can be done only if the current temporary taxes, which are already in place, are extended for a few years.

The alternative is even more draconian cuts to state services. Polls show a majority of Californians support the governor’s approach. Only a small group of Republican legislators stands in the way of resolving this problem once and for all.