Legislators considered moderate in California would be considered left-wingers in almost any other state. They have no principled objection to increasing the size of government or the tax burden, although they tend to represent more working-class and rural areas and are less enthusiastic about some boutique policies that emanate from San Francisco and Santa Monica, such as bans on plastic bags and a proposed 1 percent tax increase on lumber products.
When it comes to keeping an eye on taxes, every Democrat in the Assembly received the lowest score from the conservative Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association in its annual ranking of votes on tax measures. Only a handful of Democrats scored decently on the California Chamber of Commerce’s guide that ranks members’ votes on bills that would hurt economic and job growth.
Some newly elected Democratic moderates, such as Tom Daly of Anaheim and Adam Gray of Merced, have yet to cast a vote. But Gray’s endorsements and campaign positions reflected something common for most moderates — strong support for public-sector unions.