Skip to comments.CA: State set to start fiscal year without budget
Posted on 06/30/2005 6:51:41 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
SACRAMENTO (AP) - California was on the brink of entering the new fiscal year without a state budget for the fifth time in a row after lawmakers deadlocked Thursday over a tiny fraction of spending in a plan likely to exceed $115 billion next year.
The Assembly adjourned for the holiday with plans for party leaders to work on a compromise over the weekend with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but senators were called back into session late Thursday for a possible vote on a Democratic budget plan.
Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, said he would keep members in session indefinitely to reach an agreement.
The swirl of late activity left budget negotiations somewhat uncertain, even though party leaders said earlier that a deal could be reached by next week.
Perata, however, said that his party felt a stronger effort should be made to meet the end of the fiscal year deadline.
"They feel very strong that we have a responsibility that we must dispatch this evening," said Perata. "We are going to stay here tonight. There's a very strong feeling that people want to stay here and do their job."
The division centers on nearly $1 billion that majority Democrats want to spend on health care and education programs but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and fellow Republicans insist the state cannot afford.
Schwarzenegger proposed a $115.7 billion budget without new taxes or borrowing while increasing money for schools and transportation projects above last year's allotment.
Democrats have given ground to the governor in recent weeks, dropping a demand for $3 billion that education officials claimed they are owed under a budget deal last year with Schwarzenegger - a claim he denies.
Even with the compromise, Schwarzenegger said the latest Democratic plan would exceed revenues next year and add to future deficits.
The two sides have feuded for weeks over the same issues and Democratic leaders were prepared to put their budget plan up for a vote Thursday even though they knew it lacked Republican support.
But just before a vote in the Assembly, Schwarzenegger called party leaders into his office for a rare closed-door meeting. Participants emerged from the near hourlong meeting to say they thought the impasse may have been broken.
"We all know that we are down to very few things," said Perata. "It's a question as to whether we can work something out."
Schwarzenegger was pleased with the progress made in the meeting, said spokeswoman Margita Thompson.
"The governor has a sense of urgency but there needs to be a good budget," she said.
She said the governor and party leaders are scheduled to meet Saturday.
Nunez and Schwarzenegger were scheduled to attend the swearing-in ceremony Friday of incoming Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Still, looming over the talks is the upcoming special election in November that pits the governor and the GOP against the Democrats and labor groups on a variety of ballot measures. Both sides have been accused of playing politics with the budget in an effort to improve their standing in the November election. But with falling polls numbers for Schwarzenegger and the Legislature, the rivals also agree that a long stalemate does not help anyone.
Without a budget in place at the beginning of the fiscal year, the state will not be able to make a number of payments, including $410 million to schools and $191 million to state vendors, according to Controller Steve Westly.
The state will still be able to pay most employees and funding basic school and health and welfare programs.
But if there's no budget by August, another $2.6 billion would be held up, followed by $3.6 billion in September.
Perata said he is prepared to work on a compromise, but may be looking beyond the Capitol for help.
"I, myself, will be lighting candles under the statue of Saint Jude," he said, referring to patron saint of hopeless causes.
On the Net
Gov.'s home page: http://www.governor.ca.gov/state/govsite/gov-homepage.jsp
California Senate: http://www.sen.ca.gov/
California Assembly: http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/defaulttext.asp
WOOHOO! That's our state Gubamint.
Record setting deficits, record setting low poll numbers, record setting arrogance and corruption..
We are kind of shutting down the Government here is MN.
The Libs want to tax the RICH, The Republicans want Casino's. Nobody wants to cut Government. 30 billion dollar budget for 5.2 million people.
I saw that highway rest stops would be shutdown too.. Ouch!
Hopefully fish will still be biting and skeeters will take the time off. Ha!
You'd think the governor was a popular champion protecting the state's fiscal virginity when in fact Schwarzenegger has been the state's largest spender generating record debts for the state.
The whole episode reminds me of a couple of whores dickering over the value of virtue.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
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