Jerry Brown: The World's Best Vetoer

Last week, the Sacramento Bee picked up my not-so-flattering statement about California's lawmakers: "When you meet with people in the Legislature in Sacramento, the most striking thing is how stupid everybody is."

That's harsh, I realize. But if you read Governor Jerry Brown's veto messages, you can readily determine that I'm not alone in my assessment.

Brown's vetoes are wonderfully brief and dry, and can generally be read with an implied "you idiots" at the end. Here is what Brown wrote when he vetoed a bill about recycling over the weekend:

This bill states that the payment rate for commingled beverage containers shall not include compensation for ineligible materials. This rather terse amendment would codify the obvious without any discernible impact.

He also vetoed a proposal to study California's wildly swinging tax revenues:

This bill would require another report on tax revenue volatility, this one from the Legislative Analyst. The Legislature can have its own analyst prepare the report by simply asking. A law isn't needed.

Even when he's not getting out his veto pen, the governor sometimes takes time out to show his disdain for the legislature, as in this signing message from last September:

I am signing SB 769 which allows for a dead mountain lion to be stuffed and displayed. This presumably important bill earned overwhelming support by both Republicans and Democrats. If only that same energetic bipartisan spirit could be applied to creating clean energy jobs and ending tax laws that send jobs out of state.

If I had to work with the California legislature every day, I would probably be less reserved. I might break out the obscene acrostics, as Arnold Schwarzenegger did once. Brown is to be commended to channeling his disdain for his idiot co-workers into as professional a channel as could reasonably be expected.

(Josh Barro is lead writer for the Ticker. E-mail him and follow him on Twitter.)

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