Assembly Locked Down; Budget Plan Defeated

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Early in the evening Republicans defeated a Democratic budget that included a temporary sales tax hike, a tax on oil production and a nickel-a-drink tax on alcohol.   But Assembly Speaker Karen Bass kept lawmakers in session for about four hours after that.  She said they planned to vote on the Republican budget proposal.  However, just before 11 p.m., she announced it wasn’t ready, and lawmakers adjourned.  Earlier in the day Bass defended the decision to call for a vote, despite the stalemate:

“you know what, it’s a catch 22, because if we don’t vote on anything, people see us as doing nothing.  I really feel that it is important and  imperative that we vote and that we  try.”  

Bass says they’ll meet tomorrow (Wednesday) to vote on the Republican budget proposal, which includes about 15 billion in cuts and no new taxes.  A session is scheduled in the Senate as well.

California faces a shortfall of roughly 40 billion dollars over the next year and-a-half.  State Treasurer Bill Lockyer has warned that bond funding for public works projects is in jeopardy without a balanced budget.  Funding for some projects could be yanked as early as today.