RSS
California's busted budget
Cutting spending and raising taxes to rescue California from insolvency
 

What happened
California legislators on Thursday passed a deal to pull the giant state back from the brink of insolvency and close a $42 billion budget deficit with steep tax hikes and spending cuts. (San Jose Mercury News)

What the commentators said

"The California Republican rebellion in the state Senate has ended," said Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. So the GOP loses—and so do Californians. Now their "already overburdened" economy will be saddled with billions of dollars in new taxes, even though their "overly large nanny state" already has one of the highest overall tax rates in the country.

Republicans need to face the reality, said the San Francisco Chronicle in an editorial, that any balanced approach to rescuing California must include tax increases. Even with a budget deal fashioned through last-minute horse-trading, it's clear that the state is far from coming to terms with its "long-term budget problems."

California's budget showdowns always end this way, said The Christian Science Monitor in an editorial. Lawmakers come up with "short-term fixes that don't solve the underlying problems." This time there was the added "high drama" of locking legislators in the Capitol until they reached a deal, but it's time for the state to address the overspending and political dysfunction that created this mess.

Right, and jacking up taxes does nothing to stop overspending, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. Even with the housing bust, things wouldn't be worse than in other struggling states if California's expenditures hadn't grown to $145 billion in 2008 from $104 billion in 2003. "California's budget crisis is the inevitable result of runaway liberal governance, and the state's voters will keep paying for it until they reduce their tax burden and adopt more radical spending controls."

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week