Where do we go from here?
Step One: Majority vote for budget and taxes. We all know that the 2/3 rule prevents us from passing good budgets. But it also undermines public confidence in the legislature, since nobody can be held accountable and since the 2/3 rule produces unworkable compromises that voters immediately see right through...
Step Two. Restore responsible taxation of the wealthy and corporations. [O]ne of the key reasons our budget is in crisis is because we have been cutting taxes on those with the greatest ability to pay. This makes state revenues heavily dependent on consumer spending from working- and middle-class people, spending that is volatile to short-term economic dislocation.
Under Republican governors Ronald Reagan and Pete Wilson, the highest income earners in this state paid taxes at a higher marginal rate than they do today. Now, an individual making $900,000 pays the same tax rate as someone making $50,000. Oil companies pay the same property tax rate as an elderly homeowner -- and unlike Alaska and Texas, oil companies pay no tax on the oil they extract in California. This is absurd and it must change.
Republican legislators will scream and cry, but will they actually vote no on these popular taxes? If they do, we set up victories in 2010. If they vote yes, we help ease the existing budget mess.
Step Three: Convene a Constitutional Convention. The state needs a broad range of changes to the way its government operates. But more fundamentally, it needs a constructive process to produce those fixes. We've gone about as far as the gimmicky special election approach can take us. A Constitutional Convention allows the entire state, whether they're delegates or not, to engage in a debate about the core issues of how our government should react to a 21st century crisis.
We don't believe a Convention should tackle social issues or human rights, but... on fixing our budget and government, on providing more democracy and participation in the public sector[.] Of course, the delegates need to represent the state's diversity, and voters will rightly have the final say. But it's better than the status quo, and will help provide a better state.
It's time we got aggressive. Democrats should NOT accept cuts as inevitable... President Obama has shown that Republicans are unpopular and vulnerable. We would be fools to not take advantage of that unpopularity here in California... Republicans have been in steady decline in both registrations and election outcomes since 1996. We can beat the conservative attack on California -- if we realize we've had the tools to do so all along.
More details here.