Democrats in the state legislature have come up with a sneaky way to pump new money into the general fund and resolve about half of the present multi-billion-dollar budget crisis. If the legislature wants to raise taxes, it needs a two-thirds majority, and the Republican minority won't go along. But if the vote is on a "revenue-neutral" plan that only shifts taxes around, you only need a simple majority, which the Dems have in spades. So here's what Assembly Speaker Karen Bass is working up, according to the Chron: eliminate the gas taxes that fund transportation projects, replacing it with a sales tax that would pump revenue into the general fund. What about the transportation projects, you ask? Ah, those would be funded by ...wait for it ... a gas "fee." See? It's all so darn clever, if you like that sort of thing. In any case, the Dems still have a few problems. The governor won't support the bill, becuase it doesn't have all the economic stimulus provisions he wants. And this little trick only solves half the budget crisis; the Dems will have to go back and face some very pissed-off Republicans for round two.