Legislators Expected To Miss Thursday Deadline To Approve State Budget
Chances that legislators will approve a fiscal year 2005-2006 state budget by a constitutional deadline Thursday are "probably impossible" as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and lawmakers continue to disagree over several issues, including funding for the In-Home Support Services program, the Sacramento Bee reports (Bluth, Sacramento Bee, 6/30).
Schwarzenegger has proposed reducing the state's contribution to funds for home care workers' wages through IHSS by about $200 million. Democratic legislators' budget proposal would restore that funding.
Democratic leaders have scheduled a legislative vote for Thursday on their most recent budget proposal. However, the proposal "is almost certain to fail to get enough Republican support to generate the necessary two-thirds approval," according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles) said, "Short of giving the governor his May revise and putting that up for a vote, this is probably the best thing you're going to get," adding, "I don't think the Republican legislators want a budget; I can tell you that. They think if they hold it up, it will create more leverage for the governor in the fall elections" (Sheppard/Drucker, Los Angeles Daily News, 6/30).
Sen. Dick Ackerman (R-Tustin) said, "Until there is an extended delay, the average citizen is not concerned." He added, "They don't mind, as long as we get a budget in the next week or two ... . Better a good budget a week or so late than a not-good one on time."
However, some health care providers have said that if a stalemate continues, a state reserve fund to pay physicians who treat low-income state residents could be exhausted by late July (Halper, Los Angeles Times, 6/30).
According to the Daily News, this will be the 16th time in the past 20 years that legislators have missed the constitutional deadline for passing the budget (Los Angeles Daily News, 6/30).
"The current budget brawl in Sacramento highlights a glaring flaw in [the governor's] ballot initiative to limit spending and 'live within our means,'" George Skelton writes in his "Capitol Journal" column in the Times. According to Skelton, "a compromise on budget reform could easily fix the power-shift flaw," adding, "The Legislature could retain all its power, but be forbidden to act on anything else until a budget were passed or fixed (Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 6/30).
The following articles also addressed the budget negotiations:
- "Democrats Floating a New Budget" (Folmar/LaMar, Contra Costa Times, 6/30).
- "Governor's Bid Brings Budget Impasse" (Mendel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/30).