SACRAMENTO – In a column published in today’s Los Angeles Times, George Skelton states Governor Brown and legislative Democrats were “plain wrong” when they diverted a $410 million legal settlement meant for victims of the mortgage crisis, which was used to balance the state budget. Then, after courts twice ruled that the state has to return the money, Democrats instead hurriedly passed a bill justifying their illegal taking, effectively telling the courts to “pound sand.”
Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature just showed why many voters don’t trust Sacramento politicians with money — and why last year’s gas tax increase could be repealed on election day. Ruling Democrats never quite get it. … In 2012, Brown and the Legislature took $410 million that was supposed to assist victims of abusive mortgage lending and used it to help balance the state budget. Homeowner groups sued. Two courts ruled against the state and ordered it to replace $331 million. … it was plain wrong. You don’t take money meant for financially pressed homeowners — or former owners who were improperly foreclosed on — and spend it on convenient budget balancing. … What they mostly did with the money was use $316 million to make payments on $5 billion in housing bonds approved by voters in 2002 and 2006. … Regardless of what the state Supreme Court does, Sacramento Democrats already have lost by snatching the mortgage money.
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