Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When ideology is worth more than solutions

Is ideological purity more important than a pragmatic response to a crisis? For the rank-and-file of California Republicans, the answer seems to be yes.

Despite the state teetering on the edge of a financial abyss, Republicans in the State Senate (well, except for Dave Cogdill and Roy Ashburn) refuse to support a budget compromise that includes $15.8 billion in spending cuts, $14.3 billion in tax hikes and $10.9 billion in borrowing. Only one more Republican vote is needed to pass the budget.

It's not a perfect solution, but it's better than sitting back and doing nothing. Which is what the GOP seems content to do.

The Republican State Seante caucus even ousted its leader late last night, partly because he was one of two GOP members to support the compromise bill. Their new leader, Dennis Hollingsworth of Murietta, insists that any tax increases should be off the table.

Nevermind that the Hollingsworth-GOP strategy would mean almost doubling the proposed $14 billion in cuts — the same cuts already forcing the Tracy Unified School District to slash $15 million in spending, which means possibly shutting down one school, slashing dozens of jobs and increasing class sizes.

Under the GOP's all-cuts-no-taxes plan, students — you know, the future of America — would bear the brunt of further cuts.

But that would be a small price to pay for political positioning and purity, right Sen. Hollingsworth?

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