Legislature Does Not Pass Democrats’ Budget Proposal
The required two-thirds of legislators on Wednesday did not vote in favor of Democrat's fiscal year 2005-2006 state budget proposal that would have restored about $500 million in proposed cuts to health care and social services programs included in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) budget proposal, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The Assembly voted 45-32 in favor of the agreement, while the Senate voted 25-13 (Mendel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/16).
The Democratic proposal would have eliminated cuts in Schwarzenegger's budget proposal that would reduce the state's contribution to wages for service workers who provide in-home care for elderly residents and those with disabilities. In addition, the proposal did not include a provision to enroll some beneficiaries of public health care programs in HMOs (California Healthline, 6/15).
Democrats needed eight total Republican votes in the two chambers to approve the budget and send it to the governor's desk for his consideration. However, all Republicans legislators in both chambers voted against the proposal, saying they opposed some spending that was not included in the governor's proposal (Halper, Los Angeles Times, 6/16).
Rejection of the proposal blocked an attempt by Democrats to pass the budget by a state constitutional deadline (Sheppard, Los Angeles Daily News, 6/15).
Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) said, "Unfortunately, there are people outside of this chamber who would hold the budget hostage and intimidate this institution for narrow political gain," adding, "This budget is therefore nothing less than a battle for political relevancy of our institution."
Assembly Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) said, "I pledge to you today as the Republican leader that we will work with you if you are serious about sitting down, finding a common-sense solution and moving forward." He added, "Today is not the solution. Today is a bill that is still hot off the presses" (Bluth, Sacramento Bee, 6/16).
The following articles also addressed the state budget proposal:
- "Legislature Misses Budget Deadline 18th Year in a Row" (Kim Quach, Orange County Register, 6/16);
- "State Budget Misses Deadline" (Berthelsen, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/16);
- "Democrats Blocked on Budget Proposal" (Folmar, San Jose Mercury News, 6/16).