State Assemblyman Don Wagner said Friday that if Governor Jerry Brown pushed forth an 18 month extension of the taxes instead of the five year plan Brown wants, the Governor would likely get the Republican votes he needs although Wagner made it clear, he wouldn’t be one of the Republicans voting to extend the taxes.
Wagner made the comments while attending a “Family Fun” night at my neighborhood elementary school on Friday and I got to spend a few minutes with assemblyman. Rep. Wagner is doing one thing Chuck DeVore seldom did — he puts himself out there in public, even if it is to preach to the faithful.
I suggested to Mr. Wagner that perhaps, since his party is in the minority, they work towards a compromise on matters of the budget. Wagner said the governor hasn’t done enough to with the Republicans in the Legislature; I disagreed citing the billions in cuts the Democrats and Gov. Brown have already completed. I also reminded the assemblyman that more people in California agree with me than side with him, and he offered up that that’s changing (Mr. Wagner hasn’t seen the recent Rose Institute study citing that OC Republicans are in serious trouble).
Another neighbor volunteered to Wagner that GOP strategist and pollster Frank Luntz would be making a trip to Orange County soon. I said that I admired Luntz’s ability to rebrand phrases that are negative and turn them into something palatable. “You mean like pro-choice?” Wagner said. I just shook my head.
Back to Wagner’s prediction that an 18 month window would garner the Republican votes Governor Brown needs, I find naive. If Brown threw out an 18 month extension instead of the five year extension, the pressure on Republican legislators from The Flash Report, the Howard Jarvis Foundation, and the John and Ken show would browbeat them back into submission. And it also brings yet another example of Republicans demanding compromises to legislation, getting them, and still not voting for the bills. It happened with Heathcare Reform at the federal level and I certainly don’t trust our Republican state legislators to compromise.
One neighbor, who’s done the legislative action battles with me for years, asked me who he (Wagner) was. I told her Assemblyman Don Wagner. She asked, “will he do anything to help get us more money for our schools?” I said, “Unlikely.”
I’ll concede one thing to the Assemblyman; unless Democrats can come up with a great candidate to beat him, we’re likely stuck with him for the next five years as he keeps the seat warm while delivering no meaningful legislation to impact the amount of state education dollars to our well-below average funded local school districts.