National Opinions

Bakersfield Californian: State needs a spending cap

The subplot to California's state budget crisis basically boils down to the Republican minority in the Legislature having just enough votes to block a budget deal, but not enough votes to pass business-friendly legislation.

California's requirement that spending plans and tax hikes be approved by two-thirds of the Legislature gives Republicans leverage to demand suspension of environmental rules they have long opposed and the easing up of some labor rules, such as those requiring workers' lunch breaks.

As this game of "chicken" has dragged on, the state's budget hole has grown to more than $40 billion over the next 17 months.

It would seem this impasse can't go on forever. But, then again, it seems to be. And state Controller John Chiang, who warns California will soon be out of money, is preparing to start issuing IOUs.

Now surfacing is a proposal by Republicans for a "cap" on future state spending in exchange for their support of tax in- creases and other concessions to close the budget gap.

If lawmakers and governors cannot be disciplined enough to wisely spend and save tax dollars, a spending cap is needed to force discipline.