Many factors go into making political deals – ideology, self-interest, expediency and emotion to mention just a few.

Logic rarely enters the equation, and if it does, it usually dwells at the bottom in importance.

Two cases in point are to be found in the final deal on a $213 billion state budget that was hammered out last weekend, just a few days before the June 15 deadline, by Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders.

The first is an agreement to use money from the state’s “cap-and-trade” program of auctioning off carbon emission allowances to improve local water systems, mostly in impoverished communities. Up to a million Californians now have substandard water supplies so the goal is certainly a worthy one.

Newsom and his predecessor, Jerry Brown, wanted a tax on water to generate money for the much-needed repairs, but legislators were worried about a backlash were they to impose such a tax while the state is running up multi-billion-dollar budget surpluses.

The expedient solution was to tap the cap-and-trade fund, which is supposed to be used for projects that reduce greenhouse gases, but that has evolved – surprise, surprise – into an all-purpose political slush fund.

The rationale offered by Newsom budget adviser Vivek Viswanathan …read more

Source:: East Bay – Science


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