Like many conservatives, state Sen. Roy Ashburn regards Ronald Reagan as a political hero.
But it's the earliest days of Reagan's experience in elective office that Ashburn has recalled this week as he struggles over whether to support the mixture of new taxes and spending cuts to close California's $42 billion budget deficit.
He has abstained from the Senate's repeated votes on the tax portion of the budget package but is believed to be ready to provide one of the three GOP votes needed in the Senate.
A vote for tax hikes would be a tough decision for the Bakersfield Republican, who represents one of the most conservative regions in California. He became a fan of Reagan at age 12 when he met the then-gubernatorial candidate on the campaign trail in 1966 and said Reagan has inspired him throughout his political career.
Republican Sen. Roy Ashburn of Bakersfield is invoking the memory of the man conservative love to idolize — Ronald Reagan — as he prepares to vote for a budget package that includes more than $14 billion in new taxes.
"In 1967, when the state faced a similar budget situation, he proposed the largest tax increase in the history of California," says Ashburn in an AP interview. "I know Ronald Reagan meant it when he said 'limited government and no tax increases,' but politics is politics and governing is governing."
Roy Ashburn is a weenie. He shames Reagan's name by mentioning him to vote for this Big 5 deal
One of Sen. Abel Maldonado's three demands to support the budget plan is some kind of so-called "open primary."
Rick Hasen of the Election Law Blog warns Maldonado "to be very careful in terms of how the measure is drafted. If Democrats are really cynical, they will agree to (Maldonado's) request and draft an open primary measure that courts will rule unconstitutional. A solid open primary measure that will sustain court challenge must be drafted carefully to withstand court challenge."
Well, here's at least one draft of the legislation circulating under the dome. It is time-stamped by Legislative Counsel from Tuesday.
Abel must be smoking crack to agree to this BS
Sen. Abel Maldonado said in a brief interview Wednesday that there was "a good chance" for a budget vote tonight and that he wants all three of the wish-list items he has put forth to secure his budget vote.
Asked if he would settle for one or two, he said, "I'm asking for all three," before rushing into a meeting with Assembly GOP leader Mike Villines. "We're very close on the details, and I just want to leave it at that."
Asked who he was close with, Maldonado said, "Darrell (Steinberg) and the governor and I — I think we're close."
It must be pretty heady, having people who never used to remember your name suddenly realize you're the most important person in the universe. It must be like being the lead character in one of those teen dramas about the mousy kid who (surprise) becomes the head cheerleader or the homecoming queen and dishes out comeuppance to the kids who used to make fun of her. What would you do if you suddenly had that power?
That's been the question for Abel Maldonado, the strawberry farmer who became mayor of Santa Maria and who, as a Republican state senator, has held the one vote that could balance California's budget or send the state headlong into default. Hey, governor! Remember when I asked you to endorse me for state controller and you wouldn't? Hey, Democrats! Remember when I asked you to curb spending and you didn't? Who's sorry now?
Sen. Abel Maldonado says he reached a deal with the governor to vote for the budget in exchange for changes in the law to allow open primaries and punish legislators for not meeting budget deadlines.
In what could be a break in state budget talks, legislative Democrats are contemplating a firm offer — approval of three constitutional amendments — from Republican Sen. Abel Maldonado as a means to closing the state's $40 billion budget shortfall.
Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, could provide the crucial 27th vote necessary to pass a budget package that has been stalled since Saturday. In a lunch meeting at Spataro with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maldonado asked for ballot measures to create an open primary system, prohibit legislative pay raises in deficit years and stop legislators from receiving salaries if they do not pass a budget on time.
If you thought Washington's stimulus debate was depressing, take a look at the long-running budget spectacle in California. The Golden State's deficit has reached $42 billion, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is threatening to furlough 20,000 state workers (go ahead, make our day), and as we went to press yesterday Democrats who control the legislature had blocked lawmakers from leaving until they finally get a deal.
[Review & Outlook] AP
It's sad to watch. The Golden State — which a decade ago was the booming technology capital of the world — has been done in by two decades of chronic overspending, overregulating and a hyperprogressive tax code that exaggerates the impact on state revenues of economic boom and bust. Total state expenditures have grown to $145 billion in 2008 from $104 billion in 2003 and California now has the worst credit rating in the nation — worse even than Louisiana's. It also has the nation's fourth highest unemployment rate of 9.3%
There is no right to healthcare
The United States was founded with the declaration that all men have the right to â€œlife, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.â€ The Founders recognized that all men have a moral right to be free from the coercion of others, as long as they allow others the same freedom. They believed that rights do not impose a positive obligation on others, but only the negative obligation to restrain from the initiation of force.
Well-off Mexican pensioners joined middle-class Venezuelans in a frantic quest on Wednesday to track down their savings as the fraud scandal enveloping U.S. broker Stanford Group Co spread to Latin America.
Crowds flocked to Stanford offices in Caracas and Mexico City and telephone lines buzzed as harried Stanford staff fielded calls round-the-clock about frozen accounts. Regulatory authorities moved on the bank's assets in Ecuador and Panama and its Colombian brokerage unit halted stock trading. [ID:nN18432144]
The SEC's fraud charges may be the least of accused financial scammer R. Allen Stanford's worries. Federal authorities tell ABC News that the FBI and others have been investigating whether Stanford was involved in laundering drug money for Mexico's notorious Gulf Cartel.
Ramesh, I'm sure you've shown your cards somewhere on this matter, so at the risk of asking an ignorant question, do you think our lady up north is worth conservative embrace? Your post hints that you might. If so, what exactly has she done as governor to warrant this affection? As far as I know, her main accomplishments up there are two-fold. First, she taxed and regulated the oil companies out of virtually all remaining marginal plays in Alaska and then crowed endlessly on the campaign trail about how she faced-down the "special interests." Then, she signed into law a stunning array of renewable energy subsidies that would be the envy of any blue-stater.
If the state budget proposal is approved, a special election will be held May 19 to decide how the state raises and spends much of the money. Five measures would be on the ballot, including revisions to three voter-approved measures spelled out in the budget that voters must decide:
Their concern is that the House will pass something, then the Senate will take up the bill and do something different,â€ the senior leadership aide tells me. â€œThe Blue Dogs donâ€™t want to end up voting on something that wonâ€™t even become law. Theyâ€™re saying, 'See what can get through the Senate first, and then weâ€™ll vote on it.â€™â€
House Dem leaders agree with this assessment, the aide says. Asked if it would anger labor leaders, the aide said that labor might not like it but that labor leaders would â€œunderstand the dynamic.â€
President Obama opposes any move to bring back the so-called Fairness Doctrine, a spokesman told FOXNews.com Wednesday.
The statement is the first definitive stance the administration has taken since an aide told an industry publication last summer that Obama opposes the doctrine — a long-abolished policy that would require broadcasters to provide opposing viewpoints on controversial issues.
"As the president stated during the campaign, he does not believe the Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated," White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said.
Newly minted Senate GOP leader Dennis Hollingsworth said Wednesday morning that he opposes balancing the state's books with any new taxes and that he would like to reopen budget talks.
The Murrieta Republican, whose caucus ousted ex-leader Dave Cogdill late last night, said his "hope is that this deal doesn't make it through."
"The vast majority of my caucus does not want to see a budget passed with a tax increase," Hollingsworth said. "To the extent that that requires the budget negotiations to be reopened, then that may be necessary."
Democratic leadership and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have been steadfast in their opposition to reopening talks on the $40 billion-plus package, which includes $15.8 billion in spending cuts, $14.3 billion in tax hikes and $10.9 billion in borrowing.
Gov. Sarah Palin must pay income taxes on thousands of dollars in expense money she received while living at her Wasilla home, under a new determination by state officials.
The alternative is to hold out until the state essentially becomes insolvent. There are some Republican lawmakers who think this scenario â€“ taking the state "over the cliff" â€“ is needed to get the public to focus on the problem and force the Legislature to enact deeper spending cuts.
But the more likely outcome would be to harm Republicans politically while doing nothing to advance the cause they say they stand for. With either the courts or the state's Wall Street creditors, or both, given new power over California's finances, it is unlikely that more spending cuts would be the result. If judicial control of the state prison medical system is a model, massive spending increases might be more likely.
In the meantime, the public would probably hold the Republicans responsible for the crisis and, if anything, punish them further at the ballot box.
Sorry Dan your reasoning is flawed. CA Voters are tried of temporary taxes that become permanent and do not trust Sacramento Pols
NEWS broke last week that Rahm Emanuel, now White House chief of staff, lived rent- free for years in the home of Rep. Rosa De Lauro (D-Conn.) – and failed to disclose the gift, as congressional ethics rules mandate. But this is only the tip of Emanuel's previously undislosed ethics problems.
One issue is the work Emanuel tossed the way of De Lauro's husband. But the bigger one goes back to Emanuel's days on the board of now-bankrupt mortgage giant Freddie Mac.
Reporting from Sacramento — As California's government continued its grinding downshift toward insolvency, efforts to close the state's nearly $42-billion budget gap hit a new snag late Tuesday as Republicans in the state Senate ousted their leader.
Around 11 p.m., a group of GOP senators, unhappy with the higher taxes that Senate leader Dave Cogdill of Modesto agreed to as part of a deal with the governor and Democrats, voted to replace him in a private caucus meeting in Cogdill's office.
The political Sturm und Drang over billions of dollars in spending cuts, new taxes and borrowing to close a huge budget deficit masks the most important question: Would it resolve, even partially, California's chronic fiscal malaise?
The answer is elusive because the package, which was still hung up in the state Senate Tuesday night, has many moving parts and is based on many assumptions. But in general, it's not a full solution.