Terminator II: Jerry Brown's California Strategy

Next week, the new governor of California will present a budget that only a Right-Wing Republican would love. In order to push for an eventual tax increase, he will spread the pain to all of his major constituent groups. The hardest hit will be the poor and the disabled, but Brown especially wants the universities and unions to suffer. His idea is that if everyone protests against these draconian cuts, they will band together and vote for new taxes during a special election in June.

While many unions and student groups worked hard to get Brown elected, they will soon find themselves in the uncomfortable position of fighting against his proposed changes, which essentially represent a rerun of 1999's special election. Instead of going after Proposition 13 and the need to have a two-thirds majority in the legislature for any tax increase, Brown will push for an extension of new taxes, and he will endorse Schwarzenegger's previously rejected plan to take money from cigarette taxes and mental health funds to balance the budget.

So it looks like Progressives have voted for another Republican in Democratic clothing, and the only way that unions and public employees can protect their jobs is if they support a man who has just caused them major pain. Making matters worse is that there will be no stimulus money to soften the blow, and many anti-tax Republicans feel emboldened by the 2010 election victories. In short, 2011 is shaping up to be a very painful year for the Left Coast.