Skelton: Voters made budget deal possible

Skelton: Voters made budget deal possible
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), Gov. Jerry Brown and Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) at a press conference in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

When a deal was reached on the state budget, Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate leader Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. PĂ©rez gathered in the Capitol to declare victory.

Missing from the press conference, says George Skelton in his Thursday column, was a fourth group that made a balanced budget possible.

"Let's not forget where most of the credit belongs for a punctual, sensible budget," he writes. "It's with another, oft-maligned group: the California voters."

Two votes played a crucial role in this year's largely smooth budget process. First, Proposition 25 in 2010 allowed spending plans to pass with only a majority vote and removed lawmakers' pay if they didn't hit their June 15 deadline.

Then in November voters approved Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to temporarily raise the sales tax and levies on high earners.

"Prop. 30 was bad tax policy because it worsened the state's revenue instability by leaning even more heavily on the rich and their volatile capital gains," Skelton writes. "But it did stanch the budget bleeding."