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In another post, Miller discusses what will probably be the first hot post-election topic at the state level—tax hikes. It's an odd post. Miller argues that Quinn has a mandate (because he campaigned on an income tax increase) but it's really tiny (because he didn't get a majority). So... it's not a mandate either way? I think that calls for the Me & Bobby McGee theorem.
Personally, I'm going to be frustrated if it's only discussed in terms of a "mandate": it's a hard question to answer outside of a specific referendum, and California's referendum system stands as a warning to making law out of mandates. In short: people want stuff without having to pay much for it—which is what individual actors do!—so someone has to be on the other side pricing services.
If there's a palatable solution to straightening out the state's budget, I'm unaware of it; "least painful" may be about as much as a mandate as exists.