Democrat budget cap likely a budget visor…

The Sacramento Bee is reporting that Don Perata and the Governor have come to an agreement on the budget.

Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata said Wednesday that Democrats have negotiated key points of a compromise state budget with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and that he considers negotiations over.

“I think we’ve, frankly, gone about as far as we can go,” the Oakland Democrat said.

Perata said the compromise plan includes a major concession by Democrats — a spending cap to limit annual state expenditures.

But one thing you learn in this business is that the devil is in the Senate… er… details.

As of this posting, nothing in writing has been submitted to Senate. So whether or not there is an actual budget spending cap in the proposal is yet to be seen. And if there is one, you can bet that it is not a real cap.

Keep in mind that Democrats have been insisting form months that a spending cap is a non-starter and is not up for negotiations. Put this together with the fact that the Governor’s office stopped talking about a spending cap weeks ago, opting to focus only on a rainy day fund. And now all of a sudden there is an agreement for a spending cap? Me thinks me smells a rat here!

One only need look at the tactics now being reported in the Capitol Alert:

With Don Perata announcing an agreement between Senate Democrats and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on the budget, the focus in the Capitol among those leaders has turned to picking off at least two Republicans in the state Senate to pass the spending plan.

Notice that there is no mention of actually putting the Democrat agreement in writing so that there can be honest and open negotiations. Instead they are opting for coercion, extortion and maybe even bribery. Some would call it “playing political hardball.”

The good news is that Republican’s popularity amongst their voters has been improving as they have stood their ground. This is largely due to the fact that most GOP voters didn’t think that they would do what they said they were going to do.

In the end, this means that when this budget deal comes to the Assembly, the 7 or 8 votes needed to pass it will be hard to come by.

On another note: If Republicans can get a real spending cap, how much should they give up for it? Keep in mind that while we can probably balance the budget without them, Democrats will likely demand some sort of “Revenue Enhancements” in exchange for caving on a hard spending limit.

What would you be willing to give up?

– A one cent increase in the sales tax for three years?

– More borrowing?

– Closing “Tax Loopholes”? Which ones?

– Lottery funds, backed up by new taxes?

– Increase in income taxes on business & high income earners?