California: Full Speed Ahead To Oblivion
In a fall survey of states, the National Governors Association and National Association of State Budget Officers found the overall condition of states improving since the height of the recession. Even so, spending nationwide remains hampered by rising health care and education expenses, among other costs, the report said.Scott Walker of Wisconsin showed how to bring a state budget under control - and Democrats want to recall him for his success.
"When you're looking at the national picture and the states collectively, things are getting better," said Todd Haggerty, an analyst for the Conference of State Legislatures. "No one's proclaiming victory or saying everything's over. It's a ton of cautious optimism."
In California, Brown has tied his budget proposal to a November ballot initiative to raise taxes, hoping to forestall further cuts to education and social services. For some other governors, a tax increase has helped.
Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic governor of New York, reached a deficit-reducing tax deal late last year with state lawmakers, including a Republican-controlled Senate, and the Maryland legislature approved an income tax increase just this week.
But other states have managed deficits without raising taxes, including in New Jersey, where Republican Gov. Chris Christie gained national attention for his measures to contain costs.
Nationwide, states' reliance on higher taxes has diminished since 2009, Haggerty said, after temporary tax increases in some major states, including California, expired.
Brown told Rose on Friday that he is going to "campaign hard" for his tax measure. That he has to do so at all is evidence of the unusually tricky politics confronting Brown: The Democratic majority in the Legislature is resistant to spending cuts, while the Republican minority is large enough to block tax increases. California is one of just a handful of states that requires a supermajority of the Legislature to raise any taxes.