Sunday, June 28, 2009

48 Hours from Edge, Assembly Moves Majority Vote Budget

Late into the night, the Assembly Democrats moved a budget revision to close our $19.5 billion deficit and provide a $4 billion budget reserve through a package of bills that only required a majority vote to pass.

The majority approach was not our first choice. We spent weeks in Conference Committee pursuing a bipartisan budget solution. But we have hit a wall. And, we cannot afford to wait any longer. We are 48 hours away from the state plunging into financial ruin. The Legislature has a duty to act with or without Republicans for the good of California.

There is no duty more fundamental for a Legislator than preventing the state from sinking into insolvency. This is not a political game. Unfortunately, some Republicans forget that.

As the old saying goes: lead, follow, or get out of the way. By voting against cuts and revenues tonight, the basis of any budget, Republicans ran from their responsibility to govern.

We gave legislative Republicans a chance to lead with us through a month of public hearings in the Conference Committee. That was the opportunity to present alternative budget proposals. Republicans squandered this opportunity.

With just 48 hours until our state begins issuing IOUs, now is not the time to come forward with sweeping ideas that will take more time to responsibly study than we have to act. As was noted by Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, to insist upon this as a negotiating tactic is no different than hijacking an ambulance.

Tomorrow, we expect the Senate will begin session to take up this majority vote budget. If it passes, the governor will finally get what he has asked for: a budget that resolves the entirety of our budget deficit with an adequate reserve.

While a complete analysis of this budget package will soon be available here, the budget passed by Assembly Democrats is largely based on the Conference Budget. When broken down by the individual bills within the budget package, the distinctions are within the chart below.