Surprise Us, Says Treasurer

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A pretty good jab at the folks in the state Capitol came in today from Treasurer Bill Lockyer, a written statement on the deficit negotiations that now seem slower, not faster.

Lockyer says, in part:

"With every passing day, the State's credit rating moves closer and closer to the junk pile. If the Governor and Legislature dump us on that pile, they will end indefinitely the State's financial ability to build schools, highways, levees -- all the critical public works we need to rebuild California. If our credit rating sinks to junk status, the State will find the door to the infrastructure bond market locked shut.

"If we're denied the ability to sell bonds, financing for infrastructure projects will cease. It won’t slow. It will stop. Many thousands of California workers will lose their jobs. Thousands of businesses will lose billions of dollars in revenue. At the precise moment our best economic recovery effort is most needed, we will fail.

"The ultimate victims will be taxpayers and families up and down the state. They’re the ones paying for the ratings downgrades we’ve already suffered. They're the ones paying the interest on IOUs issued by the government of world’s eighth-largest economy. They didn’t cause this mess. But they're paying for it. How much is enough?

"I call on the Governor and Legislature to focus exclusively on what it takes to bring this year's budget back in balance, honestly and immediately. I urge them to narrow, not expand, the list of their disputes, to quit adding or resurrecting endless ideological debating points, and to stop using budget negotiations to score points with political allies or against partisan opponents.

"I ask them to stop devoting energy to any issue that does not directly relate to closing this year's budget gap without adding to out-year liabilities. Give Californians and the world a pleasant surprise, for once: Balance the budget now, and get back to the work of getting our state back to work."

Ouch.

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About John Myers

John Myers is senior editor of KQED's new multimedia California Politics & Government Desk.  He has covered California politics for most of the past two decades -- serving previously as Sacramento bureau chief for KQED News and, most recently, as political editor for KXTV News10 (ABC) in Sacramento. He moderated the only gubernatorial debate of 2014, and was named one of the nation's top statehouse reporters by The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @johnmyers.

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