Marathon State Budget Session Falls Short

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(Sacramento, CA)
Sunday, February 15, 2009

  • The session was one for the record books.  Over 24 hours, lawmakers took up dozens of bills aimed at eliminating the 40 billion dollar deficit.  Locked in overnight, they dozed at their desks, while legislative leaders and the Governor tried to corral enough votes to pass the package.  The plan includes 14 billion in tax hikes, 15 billion in cuts and significant borrowing.  And it requires 3 GOP votes in each house to pass.   Legislative leaders said Sunday night they still needed one Republican vote in the Senate.  GOP Senator Sam Aanested voted against the package: 

  • “Why were we here?  At what cost?  At what cost to the staff, to the sergeants, to our families and to the people of California ?” 

  • Most Republican lawmakers have signed a pledge not to raise taxes….and a vote to do so is seen as a possible career-ender.  That perennial sticking point frustrated Democratic Senate Leader Darrel Steinberg.  He boiled over at Aanested as session was adjourning:

  •  “And I wish to God that you could deviate just a little bit from your philosophy – just a little bit - from the endless mantra of no new revenue, no new revenue ever and be a participant and a partner with us in solving this problem.”
  • Steinberg is pledging to come back every day until a budget agreement is reached.  Meantime, the State Controller continues to delay tax refund checks and payments to counties who run social service programs for California.  That’s because without a budget solution in place, the state is still too short on cash to pay all of its bills.