Budget Breakthrough: Both Houses Pass Spending Plan

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, February 19, 2009

The breakthrough came overnight, when Democrats agreed to demands from GOP Senator Abel Maldonado in exchange for his vote on tax increases.  Leaders agreed to put measures on the ballot for an open primary and to ban pay raises during deficit years. They also agreed to ditch the 12 cent per gallon gas tax that had been part of the spending plan.  When it came time to vote, Maldonado told lawmakers he’d agreed to the taxes to keep California from crumbling – but alluded to the political consequences of voting against his party:

“My friends, this might be the end for me.  But this vote ensures that it’s not the end for the state of California.” 

The spending plan includes income and sales tax hikes – along with deep cuts and significant borrowing.  And a number of measures will now go to voters – including Maldonado’s open primary plan – and a GOP-backed limit on future state spending.