Editorial: Think we've got it bad?
Minnesotans have reason to be disappointed in how this past legislative session concluded. But even though Gov. Tim Pawlenty opted for unallotment in the wake of a legislative stalemate, Minnesotans could at least be thankful for one thing:
They aren't Californians.
Think the Gopher State has a big budget gap? California has a whopping $26.3 billion shortfall -- roughly six times that of Minnesota -- and Democratic and Republican legislative leaders, along with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, have been deadlocked for weeks. There had been optimism earlier this week that a budget deal was imminent; that hope was dashed Wednesday over disagreements on education funding.
California's volume of red ink is equal to more than a quarter of the state's general fund. As a result, the state has started issuing IOUs to state contractors -- and may be forced to do so to state employees, too, by late August if there's still no balanced budget. It appears the massive gap will need to be made up without tax increases, as Schwarzenegger and other Republicans have promised they won't happen.
Things have gotten so dire that many in the state are calling for an overhaul of California's constitution. Its current content, it has been argued, makes the Golden State virtually ungovernable.
We'll take our comparatively small problems, thank you very much.