January 19, 2024
By Dan Walters
As Republican presidential candidates were slogging through Iowa and talking to voters prior to this week’s caucuses, California-bashing was common.
Los Angeles Times reporter Seema Mehta picked up on the phenomenon, writing that “the Golden State, its elected leaders and its policies were a constant target.”
“Bashing California, one of the most liberal states in the nation, is a grand tradition in the GOP,” Mehta observed. “But Republican presidential candidates may be targeting the state and its politicians more this cycle because they are a better target than President Biden.”
“Biden isn’t as motivating a villain as other Democrats might be. So the Republican candidates are essentially running a negative campaign against California,” California politics scholar Dan Schnur told Mehta. “The very worst thing Ron DeSantis could think of to say about Nikki Haley during the debate was that she might be more liberal than (Gov.) Gavin Newsom. For an Iowa Republican – or any Republican for that matter – that’s an absolutely terrifying concept.”
California may be the state that many in the rest of the nation loves to hate, but a new poll of Californians indicates that they aren’t very sanguine about the state, either.
The UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found that just 33% of California voters believe the state is headed in the right direction while 57% say it’s on a negative track.
“This is a somewhat more negative assessment than voters have given in similar measures conducted over the past 11 years,” poll director Mark DiCamillo said.
The sour attitudes extend to Newsom, the poll found. Asked about his job performance, 47% of voters surveyed disapprove and 46% approve. That’s a very slight improvement from the 49% to 46% ratio that pollsters found in October.
“However, similar to the October survey, twice as many voters say they strongly disapprove of the governor’s performance (33%) as strongly approve (17%),” DiCamillo noted.
The poll introduced a new topic – the whopping budget deficit that Newsom and the Legislature must address this year – and discovered that nearly 90% of voters consider it a serious issue and there’s almost no support (13%) for raising taxes to deal with it. Instead, voters prefer that Newsom and legislators cut spending (51%) or tap into state reserves (35%) to cover the deficit, which Newsom pegs at $38 billion but the Legislature’s budget analyst estimates to be $68 billion.
Newsom also has shunned raising taxes, but progressive legislators, with support from groups dependent upon the state budget, such as public employee unions, have continued to press for higher personal and corporate income taxes and/or a new tax on wealth.
It appears that by cutting or postponing some spending, using reserves, borrowing from special funds and implementing some accounting gimmicks, the governor and the Legislature could fashion a 2024-25 budget without new taxes.
However, Newsom’s budget advisors and those of the Legislature also agree that California faces continued multibillion-dollar deficits for the next several years, at least, which means the debate over spending cuts and taxes will continue for the remainder of Newsom’s governorship.
“The survey suggests little appetite for tax increases to address the deficit, but a challenge for Governor Newsom and the Legislature is that while spending cuts, in principle, are relatively popular, that support would likely dissipate when it comes time to making cuts to specific programs and services,” the co-director of the poll, Eric Schickler said.
This article was originally published by CalMatters.
- CalMatters: Gavin Newsom’s new budget is already leaking red ink as revenues fall behindCalMatter:By Dan Walterscover photo: Gov. Gavin Newsom addresses the media during a press conference unveiling his 2024-25 January budget proposal at the Secretary of State Auditorium in Sacramento on Jan. 10, 2024. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., CalMatters Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr. While Gov. Gavin Newsom gallivants around the country as a campaign surrogate for President Joe… Read more: CalMatters: Gavin Newsom’s new budget is already leaking red ink as revenues fall behindCalMatter:
- California voters will decide on Newsom’s mental health overhaul. How did we get here?Reprint: CalMatters By Jocelyn Wiener Fallout from our state’s long history of breaking promises to people with serious mental illness is everywhere. It can be found under our overpasses and in our tent encampments, but also inside our jails and prisons, our emergency rooms, our schools, our homes. It flashes across our public opinion polls,… Read more: California voters will decide on Newsom’s mental health overhaul. How did we get here?
- CalMatters: Budget blues at the CapitolReprint: CalMatterscover photo: Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas speaks during a floor session at the state Capitol in Sacramento on Jan. 22, 2024. Photo by Fred Greaves for CalMatters In summary The Legislative Analyst’s Office projects the 2024-25 shortfall at $73 billion, putting more pressure on legislators and the governor to find savings. The biggest challenge… Read more: CalMatters: Budget blues at the Capitol
- OPINION: blatant in our face election interferencesuggest we push back with Judicial Watch and/or any other form we can place our hands on. This is a blatant in our face election interference which will be felt outside the city of San Fransico. A few of the decision made at the local level influenced by a commissioner are: City of San Fransico… Read more: OPINION: blatant in our face election interference
- Obituary: H.D. “Dick” SumnerH.D. “Dick” Sumner Obituary Dr. H.D. “Dick” Sumner passed away, peacefully, in his home on February 17, 2024, at the age of 92. Dick was born on July 21, 1931 in Brooklyn, New York, the only child to Dr. Irving Emerson & Erna Margaret Sumner. They relocated to Carmel, California where he spent most of… Read more: Obituary: H.D. “Dick” Sumner