《经济学人》:加利福尼亚的预算
日期:2011-04-21 10:34

(单词翻译:单击)

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。

But then something odd occurred. California’s Republicans turned on the five. A party convention last weekend almost passed a resolution officially branding them “traitors”. Egged on by Grover Norquist and other tax-haters from Washington, many Republicans renewed their anti-tax “pledges”, which now seem to prohibit even a vote to let other people vote. Fearing for their careers, the five retreated.

但接着一些怪事发生了。加州的共和党员背叛了这五位共和党员。在上周一次党政集会中,他们几乎正式通过一项决议,将他们标榜为“叛徒”。受Grover Norquist和其他来自华盛顿的税收憎恶者怂恿,许多共和党员重新履行他们的反税收“誓约”。如今,这“誓约”似乎是阻止无记名投票的出现。由于害怕职位不保,这五个人退却了。

This led to some hand-wringing within California’s Republican Party. Only 31% of voters are now registered Republican. In last November’s election, when Republicans triumphed elsewhere, all statewide offices in California went to Democrats. The state party’s new chairman warned the convention that the party now speaks only “to the converted”. And yet, the party ended the same convention by resolving to block Mr Brown’s plan wholesale, opposing even the cuts.

这导致加州共和党员产生了一些绝望之情。目前该州选民只有31%登记为共和党员。在去年十一月选举中,当全国其他地方的共和党连连获胜时,加州各政府当权者都为民主党员。该州民主党新主席警告与会者说他们只同“改变观念的人”说话。然而,该党在相同的集会中却决定全盘否决布朗的提案,甚至反对削减支出方案。

So Mr Brown’s bipartisan figleaf is blowing in the wind. It looks as though it will be too late now to get the tax extension onto the June ballot. Mr Brown could still use a legal loophole to force it on with a simple majority (ie, Democrats only), but that would look bad. He could also go the longer route and let other sponsors collect signatures to put the vote on a November ballot. But this would mean that California will enter its next fiscal year, once again, without any budget at all.

因此,布朗的两党同甘共苦的想法付诸东流。目前来看,似乎已经赶不上在六月份就延长税收进行无记名投票。布朗还是可以利用法律漏洞以绝对优势(即只需民主党的支持)强制推行,但将造成不良影响。他也可以选择一条更漫长的征途,让其他赞助商寻找支持者,于九月进行无记名投票。但这也意味着,加州将再一次在没有任何预算下进入新财政年度。

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重点单词
  • decliningadj. 下降的,衰落的 动词decline的现在分词
  • prohibitvt. 禁止,妨碍
  • amenableadj. 顺从的,通情达理的,经得起检验的
  • controlledadj. 受约束的;克制的;受控制的 v. 控制;指挥;
  • routen. 路线,(固定)线路,途径 vt. 为 ... 安排
  • collectv. 收集,聚集 v. 推论 adv. 接收者付款
  • fiscaladj. 财政的,国库的
  • temporaryadj. 暂时的,临时的 n. 临时工
  • blockn. 街区,木块,石块 n. 阻塞(物), 障碍(物)
  • collectionn. 收集,收取,聚集,收藏品,募捐