Former California Governor Jerry Brown takes to the air waves as he sits in for Tom Lykins on KFI, a Los Angeles-based radio station, Sept. 27, 1991. Brown, a possible presidential candidate, answered callers' questions on a variety of subjects including Friday's presidential address by president George Bush. (AP Photo/Sam Jones)
Every time Gov. Jerry Brown fails to get what he wants on taxes, there's a new bogeyman, someone who is pulling the strings and keeping GOP legislators from going along with his proposals.
First, it was Southern California radio talk show hosts.
Then it was the Washington DC anti-tax enforcer Grover Norquist.
Brown is blaming the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and its president Jon Coupal.
The governor should knock this off. Yes, conservative groups and anti-tax advocates and GOP legislators have stood in the way of more revenues.
And your blogger is sympathetic to the view that they should compromise and that the state needs more revenues.
But these folks on the anti-tax right aren't operating in a vacuum. They're a minority in the state.
They're able to obstruct tax policy because the state's constitution and budget system -- which was constructed by voters -- gives them every right to block revenue increases.
Faced with this reality, Brown has two choices.
Do the responsible, grown-up thing and seek to change the state's constitution so that Republicans and anti-tax allies can't obstruct. Or he can whine about how these folks are blocking him, and thereby shift attention away from his own unwillingness to fix the state's broken system.
Unfortunately, he's chosen the latter.
Until Brown reverses course and takes on two-thirds, he would be wise to stop playing the blame game.