I had a chance to sit with Art Laffer, Sally Pipes and a few supporters of the Pacific Research Institute Wednesday after lunch and Art and I shared some “old times” from the 1978 Proposition 13 campaign, when he began a strong association with Howard Jarvis as a rising star in economics, and I was serving as Jarvis’ lowly but eager assistant, carrying his brief case from speech to speech. There was never much reading material in Jarvis’ briefcase, but Laffer offered that he really was a genius, a guy with guts and native intelligence who never gave up trying after several failures to reform California’s skyrocketing property taxes.
It is not confidential that right after Proposition 13 passed by a landslide in June, 1978, that Jerry Brown called Art Laffer and they spent several days together in conference about how to implement it and what to expect in the economy. It is also no secret that Jarvis and Laffer both subsequently endorsed Democrat Jerry Brown for Governor because of his pledge to fully implement the initiative, which he honestly did do. (Jarvis also endorsed the Republican candidate, but the commercial he cut for Brown was more enthusiastic and that is grist for a different blog entry!)
I am definitely not Jerry Brown’s love child, but I was impressed with a slight glimmering light a few months ago when Brown and Republican Assemblyman Chris Norby found a way to agree to kill redevelopment agencies in California – cursed local taxing authorities based in many instances on economic falsities, which Jarvis and Laffer would also despise – only to have the effort fail for lack of Republican support. I still don’t really understand the logic of what happened there. However, for all the criticism of Brown and the budget, is there really nothing the GOP can agree with him on? He did implement Prop. 13, he has given more than lip-service to cutting programs. He must understand in his heart that public employee unions are more the problem than the solution to our state crisis. Please, someone, educate me more: will
Brown only negotiate if he gets tax increases? Are there any ways at all to compromise on other issues on the budget while standing tall against tax increases?