Redistricting and the budget

150 150 Gina Baleria

It’s a big week, both for the California Citizens Redistricting Commission and the state’s budget negotiations. On Friday, the first round of newly drawn political maps will be released. And a few days later on June 15, lawmakers must have a budget plan passed or, if Prop 25 is applied as Controller John Chiang says it will be, lose their pay until they get it done.

Both the Commission and state lawmakers have been hard at work to meet their deadlines. In the case of redistricting, hints about how the new maps will look abound. But for budget negotiations, it is unclear just what we will have when the deadline arrives.

California Forward has been actively engaged in both arenas, supporting the passage of measures to create the Citizens Redistricting Commission and monitoring the commission’s progress, as well as working with lawmakers to pass meaningful budget reforms, such as performance-based (SB 14) and multi-year (SB 15) budgeting, both of which passed the state Senate last week and will now be taken up by the Assembly.

Kevin Drumm, political blogger at Mother Jones, summarizes the major question on everyone’s mind: Will redistricting lead to compromise in the short-term?

Budget negotiations have been ongoing with the tiny handful of Republicans at least willing to talk, but they’ve gone nowhere.

It all looks hopeless. But maybe not! I was chatting with a friend who deals with lots of Sacramento lobbyist types, and he said those lobbyists were unanimously reporting that there was no problem. A deal would be made and revenue would be raised. I was astonished. What makes these lobbyists so confident?

Answer: redistricting. Some number of legislators are going to find themselves without a home and without a political future. Some of them will be Republicans, and those Republicans will be willing to cut a deal with Brown because they don’t have to worry about the wrath of the voters anymore.

Hmmm. Really? It seems to me the same thing could be said about legislators who are being booted out in 2012 due to term limits, but that doesn’t seem to have helped the process along. Part of the problem is that only a handful of Republicans are being termed out, and all but three or four of them are ultraconservatives who aren’t going to compromise on taxes regardless of their future.

California Forward will be closely following developments this week in both the budget and redistricting arenas, and will report back both here on our blog and through our social media network (including Facebook and Twitter). We hope you continue to engage in the process, as well, to keep lawmakers accountable and transparent and to keep the process moving forward.


Gina Baleria

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