2/3 budget rule = 1/3 tyranny
The real underlying problem with our state budget is that unlike 47 out of 50 states, our state needs a 2/3 supermajority to pass a budget. Although this seems like a good idea on the surface, that it would build consensus, it just doesn't make sense when there are such strong ideological differences for which a consensus can never be reached. Fifty percent majority thresholds exist for a reason! So each cycle, the Democrats (who have a comfortable majority in both state houses) have to work to try to get just a few Republicans to cross party lines to make a budget that covers things like, you know, education, health care, salaries for state workers, and so forth.
I mentioned a while ago that our Senator, Loni Hancock, introduced SCA5, which would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to fix the problem. It just needs to get some more traction to get passed by the legislature — but will that happen? If you have California friends outside of our district, try to get them to get their state senator to support SCA5.
Here's Hancock talking about the issue. This is an excerpt (hat tip to Calitics and Josh Richman) of a video documenting an Oakland School's bicycle trek to Sacramento to raise awareness of the issue. Watch this two-minute excerpt here: