Strict Limits on Spending Bills in Senate

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, April 14, 2008

It’s more fallout from the state’s fiscal crisis… This month the state Senate leader announced bills that cost 50-thousand dollars or more will automatically go to the suspense file.

That’s where costly legislation is set aside temporarily in the Appropriations committee until the budget is finalized. Often bills are placed there—and don’t re-emerge.  Tim Hodson with Sacramento State’s Center for California Studies says in this case, the limit sends a message.

“It’s not the magic bullet but it’s effective. It’s a way of reminding members that there is a budget deficit which impacts the state’s ability to pay for new programs…”

One way lawmakers can get around the ban is if the bills have a special funding source— such as a fee or a tax—and don’t rely on the state’s general fund.