Twitter and news outlets were awash with both praise and disdain after Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the June 15 budget set forth by Democratic lawmakers attempting to balance California’s $9.6 billion deficit.
The veto was the first time in modern California history that a governor had vetoed a budget, and came after a particularly chaotic fiscal year in Sacramento. Brown’s reasoning was that the budget is not a properly balanced solution for the fiscal crisis, adding “it continues big deficits for years to come and adds billions of dollars in new debt.”
Reactions ranged from the supportive to the disappointed, but a majority of the responses praised the governor’s actions. Twitter user Matt Reams went as far as saying, “‘Atta boy Jerry Brown. Didn’t think I would ever say that.”
Other reactions included, “My respect for Governor Jerry Brown just went up a few notches after he vetoed the screwball budget thrown at CA this week” and “Jerry Brown did the right thing vetoing CA budget.” Some users were disappointed and plainly stated it. Rick Bates Tweeted, “CA Governor Jerry Brown, you sadden me.” Unlike Twitter, news agencies provided unanimous support for the veto.
The Los Angeles Times made the observation that by passing the budget, Brown would have been breaking two of his campaign promises to voters – no new taxes without voter approval and no more budget gimmicks. The San Francisco Chronicle published an editorial blatantly stating the veto was a right move for Brown. The editorial read, “The spending plan that Brown shot down invited a veto … There’s no room for gimmicks this time around. Keep your veto pen handy, governor.”
“Brown ran for office on a pledge that he would get California’s house in order. He is to be commended for adhering to that promise,” a Sacramento Bee editorial examining legislators’ pay in relation to Prop 25 and the veto said.
Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who has inside knowledge and writes a column for the San Francisco Chronicle has an interesting take on the veto. Instead of looking at Brown’s motives and commending him, he sought insight into the legislators’ actions. “The simple fact is, lawmakers didn’t want to be embarrassed again — and made to look like they weren’t doing their jobs by not approving a spending plan until the leaves turned brown,” he said.
Brown also mentioned Prop 25’s role in both the budget and the veto. Because the lawmakers wanted to keep receiving pay, he said, they agreed to pass something by June 15, regardless if the governor would like to rework it, veto it or neither.
The response from the media and the people on Twitter is understandable, if not confusing at first. The overall consensus seemed to be relief and praise for Brown for standing up to the legislature, which was mostly his own party in this case, and holding them accountable for a real, responsible budget.
However, it is slightly odd that there was so little criticism of Brown for the veto. While most can agree that the budget was hardly a real effort set forth by lawmakers, many also agree that California needs a timely and balanced budget. The citizens of this state seem to have finally had enough of Sacramento’s gimmicks and trickery and are ready to stand behind Brown’s bottom line decision-making.
As hopeful as this seems, the true test will come when the electorate has a chance to vote on Brown’s taxes, should they get onto the ballot in November.
For now, though it seems that the people are standing behind Brown’s decision and want the kind of proper, balanced budget that California hasn’t seen in a long time.
Stella, a Twitter user, may have summed it up best when she said, “Thanks Jerry. It’s not about having on time budgets, it’s about budgets that make sense.”