Governor Brown did the only thing he could do when he was presented with a frivolous budget bill from the legislature: he vetoed it.
I do not envy Brown’s position at all. He is squeezed between the proverbial rock and a hard place, but he can only blame himself for his predicament.
The Governor must make meaningful concessions on a spending cap and pension reform to win over enough Republican votes to construct a budget that can pass the smell test..and then some.
But how will he do that?
If it were just a spending cap, a reasonable compromise would be attainable. There would be give and take and no one will be truly happy, but that is what compromise is all about. He only needs to deal with the leadership of both parties to reach an agreement on a cap.
Pension reform is another matter. The unions will become an uncontrollable party to the negotiations. Brown’s political career is largely attributable to broad union support. To offer the pension reforms many in the state would like to have, but especially the Republican leadership, he will alienate his union connections. He will also alienate the Democrats who control the legislature.
The outcome from redistricting is a factor Brown must consider, too. There are enough fiscally conservative Democrats who will be less likely to support their party in the post redistricting Assembly and Senate races if they believe Brown and the Democratic leadership did not do enough to rein in state employee benefits.
The Governor’s situation is more like being caught between an avalanche and a chasm.
It is the job he chose; he has to deal with it.