Damned citizens’ commission!

California Supreme Court denies challenge of Senate maps

So reads a headline from the Sacramento Bee today. The story explains that despite Republican complaints, the Court finds nothing wrong with using redistricting maps drawn up by an independent commission, an entity created by passage of Proposition 11 on the November 2008 ballot in the state. It affects redistricting for the State’s Senate and Assembly. Subsequently, Proposition 20 was passed in November 2010. It added the authority to draw US Congressional District lines to the commission. Today’s decision had to do with State Senate seats.

Predictably, Republicans aren’t happy:

GOP officials contend that the new, commission drawn lines would give Democrats a strong chance of gaining two additional seats in the Senate, enough to gain the two-thirds supermajority needed to raise taxes or fees.

“If the current redistricting lines hold with regard to the Senate, the Republicans are going to have an enormously difficult time staying above the one-third threshold,” California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro told The Bee this week.

Well, too damned bad. Your party has no divine right to at least one-third of the seats in the State Senate. It will just have to compete against other parties for those seats.

What this means electorally is that there may, just may, be a 2/3 majority of Democrats in the State Legislature after this November’s election, in which case the legislature might actually be able to raise taxes on citizens of the state. That has been blocked by the requirement of Proposition 13 since 1978 that any tax increases must have the vote of two-thirds of State legislators.

That might mean a reversal of the steady decline in California’s education system, once the envy of the nation but failing at a terrible rate these days. If taxes can be raised, at least the ongoing cuts to education and other services in California might be halted. Let’s hope.