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Commentary: Alice in Budgetland

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, March 12, 2010
Alice in Wonderland is now in theaters. It is also the state of affairs with California’s budget deliberations.
Lawmakers have been in special session since January on the budget, but you wouldn’t know it. There’s little sense of urgency. The Mad Hatter is having a tea party, and we are all invited to watch.
If you are a citizen who cares about California, you might feel a bit like Alice right now. Your state has fallen into a deep rabbit hole. You are alarmed at the strange cast of characters you encounter. You keep asking serious questions, but all you get back is riddles.
It would be nice if something made sense, says Alice. Oh, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it be nice if this weren’t an election year? Wouldn’t it be nice if lawmakers could get down to the task of matching spending with revenues? Wouldn’t it be nice if the legislature weren’t so easily distracted by sideshows?
Lawmakers and the governor are hoping the economy will rebound, or that President Obama will save California with billions of dollars in aid. It is all very curious, this wishful thinking.
Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
Stuart Leavenworth is editorial page editor of The Sacramento Bee.
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