Jerry Brown Seeks to Exclude HSR From Rainy Day Fund Proposal
I’m not a fan of rainy day funds. If there’s a recession and government revenues decline, they should make up the difference through borrowing or through raising taxes on the rich, rather than putting revenues away during the good years. Especially when we still haven’t restored the brutal cuts of 2007-09, and when there’s 35 years of Prop 13 to undo.
But if Governor Jerry Brown insists on a rainy day fund, well, I’m glad he’s doing it like this:
Republicans, whose votes the Democratic governor needs to place his measure on the fall ballot, want tighter controls on the reserve fund than the governor has proposed. One senator said there might be a loophole in the plan that could help Brown fund the state’s troubled bullet train network — a project most Republicans oppose….
Another provision in the governor’s measure would allow lawmakers to spend the money on public works instead of selling bonds approved by voters. Brown is pitching this part of the plan as a way to avoid more debt: By using cash instead of borrowing, the state wouldn’t incur interest.
Nielsen is concerned that the provision is geared toward funding the bullet train, which is tied up in lawsuits that are preventing the sale of bonds for the project. If the court ultimately rules against the state, Nielsen said, money intended for the rainy-day fund or debt payments could instead be used for the train.
“I believe [Brown] looks at this as a win-win on high-speed rail,” he said. “We Republicans plan to hold his feet to the fire.”
This is the point where I remind readers that Republicans are a fringe party in California, soundly rejected by the voters and lacking any real power. Governor Brown ought to simply ignore them, and given the details of this proposal, I suspect he has.
Whatever it takes to get high speed rail built, that’s what state government ought to be doing. Its continued economic prosperity and ability to address global warming depend on it. As to Republicans, well, next time they win a major election in California, then we might stop to care about their opinions.