The Governor said he would not sign any bills that came his way until the budget was settled — then three weeks later, lo and behold, he asks the legislature to send him four bills that must be signed in the next few days for these measures to make the November ballot. You can read Kevin Yamamura’s Sacramento Bee story here.
Okay, I understand there is a certain urgency to these four bills because they require voter approval. The bills include: 1) clean up provisions for Proposition 1, the high speed rail bond; 2) a water bond; 3) a budget reform measure that includes provisions for a rainy-day fund; and 4) a measure to improve the lottery so that it may be more appealing for investors.
But the fact remains that the Governor made a bold stand to kick-start the legislators into doing their job of presenting him with a budget … then he backed off. We’re not going to get anywhere with this delayed budget fiasco if the governor doesn’t hold legislators’ feet to the fire.
Two of the measures, the lottery and the rainy day budget reform, are part of the budget negotiations. The governor wants these pieces in place to conclude a budget deal in a manner he supports.
But who knows if the final budget pact will include these pieces?
My suspicion is the rail bond measure will be the only one of the four that makes it to the ballot. That bill already flew to the Governor’s desk and was signed.
Perhaps, my attitude toward the Governor suddenly agreeing to sign some bills is clouded by my position on the rail bond. I believe the nearly $10-billion high-speed rail bond is not ready for prime time. Metaphorically, this train is speeding around a bend and the bridge is out. The bond is supposed to represent one-third of the revenue needed to build the project—that is, one third of the projected revenue needed at the time the revenue projection was made a number of years ago. The current cost projection means this nearly $10-billion bond would now only cover one-fourth of the project, and that proportion is probably shrinking every month.
Where is the rest of the money coming from? Supposedly, it will come from the federal government and the private sector. But there is no federal program or private money lined up right now and there may never be.
While I have problems with the rail bond, I have written in support the water bond. But the Governor should not pick and choose. If the legislature wants to send him all four measures along with a budget solution – fine. Voters will sort out the different measures at the ballot.
I give the Governor credit for trying to bring the drawn out budget battle to an end, but by abandoning his pledge to sign ANY bill, the Governor is not getting us closer to a budget agreement.