Lawmakers Working Against the Clock To Beat Budget Deadline
California lawmakers are working under pressure to send Gov. Jerry Brown (D) a balanced budget plan by Wednesday, the Sacramento Bee reports (Siders, Sacramento Bee, 6/14).
Lawmakers face a constitutional deadline to pass a state spending plan by June 15. If the budget is not passed by the deadline, legislators could lose their pay.
Last month, Brown released a revised spending plan that aims to close the state's $9.6 billion budget gap. The governor's plan would:
- Extend a fee on hospitals to bring in $320 million for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program; and
- Shift beneficiaries of Healthy Families -- California's Children's Health Insurance Program -- to Medi-Cal.
Brown also has asked lawmakers to temporarily extend current sales and vehicle taxes until voters can weigh in on the issue in a fall special election. However, Brown's proposed tax extension measure failed to pass the Senate last week (California Healthline, 6/13).
On Monday, Brown said that if the budget stalemate continues, he would be open to using accounting maneuvers to close the deficit.
Previously, Brown said he would consider only two kinds of spending plans: One that relies on voter-approved taxes and one that imposes all cuts (Sacramento Bee, 6/14).
Also on Monday, four GOP senators released a proposal to overhaul public employee pensions. Republicans said theyÂ might be open to a special election on taxes if the election also included ballot measures on their proposals for pension reform, a spending cap and other regulatory changes (Dave, "The State Worker," Sacramento Bee, 6/13).
However, the Republicans said they would continue to oppose a bridge tax that would extend existing tax levels until a special election could be held in September (Harmon, San Jose Mercury News, 6/13).
Democrats Drafting a Plan
Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers have started drafting a spending plan that could be approved without the two-thirds majority required for tax measures.
Nathan Barankin -- spokesperson for Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) -- declined to provide details on the plan. According to the Los Angeles Times, Democrats' alternative budget plan likely would rely on accounting maneuvers (Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times, 6/14).
Headlines and links to editorials on state budget negotiations are provided below.
- "Once Again, California Lawmakers Late With a Real Budget" (Oakland Tribune, 6/13).
- "Hang Tough on State Budget, Republicans" (Orange County Register, 6/13).