经济学人双语版:加利福尼亚的预算

The trouble with half and half这一半与那一半之间的苦恼

The plan to fix California’s budget has run into problems 解决加州预算的方案陷入困境

JERRY BROWN was being forced to contemplate plans B and C to save his governorship as The Economist went to press. He was sworn in this year (for the third time, having last been governor in 1983) as California confronted yet another budget deficit considerably larger (at more than $25 billion) than the entire budget in most other states. And because California has already made painful cuts in recent years, Mr Brown wanted to solve roughly half of the problem by cutting spending and half by extending a collection of temporary increases in income, sales and car taxes. The idea was to get a deal by making Democrats and Republicans share equally in the political discomfort.

在本期《经济学人》出版时,为了保住自己的职位,杰里.布朗正被迫考虑备用方案二和方案三。他在今年初宣誓就职(这是他第三次任职,上次任职是在1983年),当时加州再次面临预算赤字,且和其他大多数州的整体预算相比,都多很多(至少250亿美元)。因为在近几年间,加州已经进行了痛苦的削减,布朗希望通过削减支出方案大致解决一半的问题,再通过延长一系列在个人所得税,销售税和汽车税方面的临时加税措施解决另一半问题。布朗希望,通过让民主党和共和党共度政治困境来达成协议。

The first half has proved relatively easy. The legislature, controlled by Democrats and newly empowered by voters to pass budgets by a simple majority rather than one of two-thirds, has already adopted most of the necessary cuts, sparing only schools among the main spending items. Democrats made the sacrifice knowing that the alternative—an “all-cuts” budget—would double the pain.

事实证明,前一半完成得比较轻松。由于州议院受民主党控制,最近又获得选民授权以绝对优势通过预算方案,而不是以仅仅三分之二的微弱优势,所以大多数必要削减已被批准,在主要支出中只有教育支出被宽免。民主党之所以做出这个牺牲,是因为他们知道另一种选择——“全面削减”方案——加使痛苦加倍。

It is the other half, the tax extensions, that is proving intractable. Mr Brown won his election in part by promising no new taxes without “a vote of the people”. So his plan, and his fate as governor, requires getting the tax extension onto the ballot.

结果是另一半,即延长税收让人伤脑筋。布朗竞选胜利,在某种程度上,是由于他承诺没有进行“选民投票”就不征收新税。所以他的方案,连同他作为州长的命运,要求采用无记名投票来决定是否采取延长税收方案。

He was hoping to do this in June, just before the start of the new fiscal year in July, when the temporary taxes are set to expire. That way the vote would still be about “extending” (rather than “raising”) taxes. In the latest polling, a majority of voters do, in fact, favour putting the decision on a ballot, although their support has been declining. More worrying, only 46% now say they would vote for the proposed tax extensions.

他希望在今年六月前进行投票,这样正好赶在七月新的财政年度开始之前,届时临时税收将到期。这样,投票内容将还是关于“延长”(而不是“提高”)税收。事实上,最近的一次民意调查显示,虽然选民支持度一直在下降,他们大多数还是赞成采用无记名投票来做出决定。更令人担忧的是,目前只有46%的选民称他们会对提出的延长税收方案投赞成票。

But if Republican legislators have their way, the voters will never make that decision。 To put the vote on the ballot the traditional way, Mr Brown needs a supermajority (two-thirds) in the legislature。 That means winning over at least two Republicans in each chamber。 So Mr Brown has been negotiating with five who seemed amenable。 These five apparently demanded huge cuts in public pensions and red tape, and a spending cap for future years。 It might seem to be a Republican dream: a wish list of goodies that make the Democratic governor (backed by public-sector unions) squirm。

但如果共和党议员从中作梗,参选者将连投票的机会都没有。采用传统方式以不记名形式投票,布朗需要在议会有绝对多数(至少三分之二)的支持率。这意味着在参、众两院中,都至少要争取两位共和党员。所以布朗一直在同五位较为温和的共和党员协商。很明显,这五位要求大幅度削减公共养老金和政府支出,并且为未来支出做出限定。这似乎是个共和党梦想:一列美好的愿望名单,使这位民主党州长(受公共事业联盟支持)坐立不安。

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