Democrats Push for Revenue, Governor Offers New Proposals
On Sunday, California lawmakers returned to the Capitol to discuss a 14-bill Democratic budget package that attempts to raise revenue without the typical two-thirds majority vote needed to approve tax increases, the AP/San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Assembly members voted 44-30 to approve the tax portion of the Democratic plan. Without the support of Republican lawmakers, the vote fell short of the two-thirds majority normally required for tax measures to take effect immediately (Williams, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/28).
However, Democratic lawmakers suggested that the Legislature can approve new taxes with a simple majority vote if it simultaneously lowers other taxes by the same amount (Yi/Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/29).
The Democrats' bill therefore exchanges taxes for fees, employing a loophole that could allow lawmakers to pass the plan with a simple majority (Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times, 6/29).
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has vowed to veto any budget plan that passes tax increases with a simple majority. He vetoed a similar Democratic proposal in December 2008 (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/29).
The Assembly voted throughout Sunday night on the remaining bills in the Democrats' package. The measures were expected to pass because they require only a simple majority for approval (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/28).
The additional measures include spending cuts for state health care and other programs, as well as accounting maneuvers that push funding obligations back to a later fiscal year (Los Angeles Times, 6/29).
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said the Senate would meet Monday morning to take up the Democratic budget package.
State Controller John Chiang (D) has said he will begin issuing about $3 billion in IOUs for July if the state does not enact a balanced budget by the end of the fiscal year on Tuesday.
Schwarzenegger Puts Forth New Budget Measures
During his weekly radio address on Friday, Schwarzenegger proposed several new measures to reduce state spending. The proposals include:
- Enabling online enrollment for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program; and
- Requiring fingerprinting and background checks for workers in the state's In-Home Supportive Services program to help reduce fraud (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/28).
Schwarzenegger also met with Democratic legislators during a closed-door meeting on Saturday. He discussed his new proposals, including a plan to overhaul health care for retired Californians (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.