| Today, in addition to the California Democratic Party, Speaker Bass and Asm. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) have begun pushing against the Governor's proposals for the budget.
For her part, Speaker Bass said that her commitment was to ensure that California didn't eliminate the social safety net and to fight back against the all-cuts budget. While it isn't completely clear if the Speaker and Sen. Steinberg are on exactly the same page, the Democratic Leadership seems like they won't go down without a struggle.
"Assembly Democrats will be fighting for families affected by the budget by pursuing a balanced approach that includes revenues and reforms as well as cuts," Bass said. "Our responsible budget solutions will be aimed at minimizing hardship and maximizing opportunity for California's economic recovery."
Interestingly, the Speaker brought out the specter of some sort of court or federally appointed special master that would force some sort of reforms down our gut, IMF-style reforms, as California seems to be heading for a position to fit in well with that third world nation model these days. However, given the Constitutional requirements, both state and federal, it is not at all clear that such a system would be permissible. The reason why there is no provision for a state bankruptcy is that an Article III (or not, as Bankruptcy Judges do not enjoy Article III status) Judges cannot simply force states to do anything. That federalism issue is central to how our nation works, and forsaking it would be a far bigger deal than one budget crisis.
For their part, the CDP is trying to (paraphrasing here) "show our Democratic legislators that there is support for basic Democratic principles to help the neediest in our society," Chairman John Burton said on a conference call today. "Right now our goal is to protect millions of Californians."
The plan from the CDP is to press on traditional grassroots methods and combine them with some of the fancy new tech friendly means used so well by the Obama campaign. More details on that as they become available.