Assembly Passes Majority Vote Budget Fix

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, June 29, 2009

  • The rare Sunday night debate dragged on for hours, as lawmakers considered the 23 billion dollar Democratic package.  It includes cuts to health and welfare programs and tax hikes on oil, tobacco and car registrations.  Democrats passed the plan without GOP votes by eliminating other taxes and replacing them with fees…which they say do not require a two-thirds vote.  However, Governor Schwarzenegger has threatened to veto any plan that includes tax increases.  Democratic Assembly Speaker Karen Bass: 
     “For the Governor or for anyone to reject these solutions and exploit the crisis for political gain or to get unrelated reforms or pet projects would be really, the moral equivalent of hijacking an ambulance.”      Even if the Governor did sign the Democratic plan, it wouldn’t take effect for 90 days.  Republican lawmakers argue the majority vote plan is unconstitutional.  GOP Assembly Leader Sam Blakeslee called it a huge step backwards.  During the long debate, Democratic Assemblyman Alberto Torrico was also sharply critical of the Governor’s budget plan, which makes deeper cuts.  He called it the budget of a 2-year old that was “petulant, vindictive, immoral and quite frankly, dumb.”  Democrats passed budget legislation to raise taxes using a similar majority vote strategy last year.  However, the Governor vetoed the package.  California’s Controller has warned he’ll start issuing IOU’s this week if lawmakers don’t come up with a budget fix immediately.