Debra J. Saunders

The Big Two are now $2 billion apart -- and Brulte spokesman H. D. Palmer insisted, "I don't know how much clearer Republicans can possibly be in their statement that they're not going to support a budget predicated on a tax increase."

I called former Gov. Wilson to ask what he would do in similar circumstances. Indeed, Wilson found himself in similar circumstances -- although Wilson is quick to point out that he inherited his $14 billion shortfall when he was elected governor in 1990.

To start, Wilson rejects the move to borrow $10.7 billion to balance the budget (an idea first proposed by Republicans, Davis noted). "Essentially what they're doing is violating the constitutional prohibition against deficit spending," Wilson explained.

After prolonged negotiations with Democrats, who wanted borrowing instead of spending cuts, Wilson agreed to cut spending by $7 billion and raise taxes temporarily by the same amount.

When Republicans balked, Wilson made it clear they'd have to cut school funding -- and take the heat for it -- to prevail. And that's how he got the budget done.

Wilson told me he advised the newly elected Davis that "this Legislature requires a strong hand. They will be utterly irresponsible without the governor constraining them and will spend all the money they have and more, if you let them, so you can't let them."

Debra J. Saunders

TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Debra Saunders' column. Sign up today and receive daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.