Governor: No Budget, No Bills

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The budget’s well over a month late and 15 billion dollars out of whack.  And Governor Schwarzenegger says lawmakers’ priorities are off base:

“The legislature returned from its summer vacation on Monday and they have been very busy working on hundreds of different bills and debating them – that have nothing to do with the budget.”

That’s why the Governor says he won’t sign any more bills into law until lawmakers send him a spending plan.  There are just 13 bills on his desk right now.  They can actually all become law without his signature in 12 days…but he says he’ll veto them before that happens.  However, the Governor’s office says they will allow lawmakers to pull their bills back to avoid the veto.  So, is it a real threat?  Assembly Republican Leader Mike Villines says it’s less about the threat – and more about the message:

“The governor’s making an important point.  We’re at an impasse.  And we’re very late on a budget and we shouldn’t be doing other work outside of the budget. I agree with him.”

Lawmakers are still sharply divided over how to balance the budget.  Democrats want to raise income taxes and Republicans say they won’t agree to any new taxes.  Democratic Assembly Speaker Karen Bass says the Governor’s new warning isn’t necessary:

“To say that you’re going to hold up bills or any of that, I really find it a distraction.  I don’t find it particularly helpful right now.

The real threat to bills would come much later.  Lawmakers are in the final month of the legislative session, so they’re hoping to push hundreds of bills through to Schwarzenegger’s desk.  The Governor has until the end of September to act on bills passed after mid-month.  But he says if there’s no budget by then, he’ll veto them all.