California, once a staunch Republican state, flipped to the Democrats in 1992 largely due to demographic changes. Twenty years later, Democrats have won two-thirds majorities in both houses of the state legislature:
Liberal Democrats in California were already talking about new oil severance taxes, higher taxes on commercial real estate and the end of tax breaks in so-called enterprise zones.
At the edges of many conversations was the question of whether Democrats could or would change Proposition 13, the 1978 measure that keeps property taxes low and which voters approved when Brown won the second term of his first tour as governor. He was elected to a third term in 2010.
The Democratic leadership has much to answer for. In addition to the state budget crisis, cities are going bankrupt, pension systems are running out of cash, and regulations and high taxes are driving businesses out of the state. As we noted last month, these problems are worst where liberal politicians have free rein. In California, the most populous state in the union, they’re about to have more freedom than ever before.
The eyes of the whole nation will be on the new California to see just what blue Democrats do when their noble impulses are unchecked by political opponents. We confidently expect a balanced budget, dramatic increases in the quality of public services, rapid economic growth, green energy booms and other blessings too numerous to count. The eyes of the world will be on California, to see just what full, untrammeled blue can produce.