Thursday, June 25, 2009

126 Hours from the Edge

The Assembly passed three bills today that provide $4 billion in immediate cash solutions to avoid the state’s need to begin issuing IOUs on July 2. And, we plan to continue working on budget solutions every day into next week in order to close our budget gap.

The bills approved with bipartisan support by the Assembly today include:
• SB 64—Passed 68-0, it allows current year education savings to be applied immediately, bringing in almost $3 billion;
• SB 74—Passed 73-2, it utilizes cash management strategies to bring in $1 to $2 billion in July and August and $5 billion overall in fiscal year 2009-10; and
• SB 80—Passed 58-3, it makes technical changes to redevelopment funding action in the current year budget to ensure savings is legally achieved.

These bills must be enacted by July 1 in order to achieve this savings. Full analyses of these bills will soon be online.

In the middle of today’s vote, however, the governor issued this press release threatening a veto of these items if they reached his desk. Perhaps as a consequence of this threat, these three bills did not pass the Senate today. This serves no constructive purpose. We need the governor to engage in and encourage this bipartisan process to solve our budget challenges. The clock is ticking and time is running out. We don’t need the governor standing on the sidelines criticizing us for doing the work that must be done.

The State Controller has said that we need a budget passed by the end of June in order to keep California afloat. We must also pass a budget by this time in order to keep billions in federal stimulus funds that will help mitigate the effects of our economic crisis. That means California is roughly 126 hours away from going off the cliff.

Today, the Assembly passed a bipartisan solution to keep California financially afloat and make headway against our larger budget challenges. We are not making excuses or avoiding the hard decisions. We are charting the course of governance through this crisis.