All-Democrat Budget To Pass

Katy Grimes: Legislators and staff members have been leaking out details about the budget for the last couple of days – and it appears that it will be passed by a majority vote by Democrats, instead of the two-thirds margin required to pass the Governor’s proposed budget, which includes tax increases.

And throughout the budget debate, Democrats have accused Republicans of refusing to deal. But one Capitol staff member told me that Democratic Assembly Speaker John Perez had not provided Republicans all of the budget language by last evening.

“(Republicans’) inability to engage meaningfully in this process means the majority party has to go and continue to be responsible actors in the absence of anybody else,” said Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, reported the Sacramento Bee.

But yesterday, Republican Assemblyman Brian Nestande (Palm Desert) refuted Democrats’ claims in this statement. “Last month, Republicans unveiled a no tax increase budget that fully funded education and local law enforcement,” said Nestande.  “Just yesterday, the state controller announced that state revenues were $400 million higher than anticipated in May.  We remain united against the Democrat’s $58 billion tax increase.”

And, a little of the heat was off after John Chiang, the state controller, announced that May revenues were up by $408 million above projections.

Even with some good news, the Democratic budget includes no state debt repayments.

Some of the other proposed ideas for a “balanced” budget include cuts to the California State University and University of California systems of another $150 million each, cuts to the state court system by $150 million, shifting $50 million from county budgets to schools, raising the state sales tax by one-quarter cent, increasing the vehicle licensing fee by $12 per vehicle, charging a rural homeowner fee for firefighting services, and passing the online retailer sales tax.

It is going to be even more expensive to live in sunny California.

Legislators are also considering including the sale-leaseback of the 11 state buildings deal for $1.2 billion. This is problematic as the questionable deal ended up in the state courts and is still undecided.

And legislators are counting on another $1.7 billion through a remodeling – not elimination – of the redevelopment agencies. As I reported this week, the bill would maintain the government’s ability to be able to seize land through eminent domain, and even creates a fuzzier description of what constitutes “blight.”

This does not look like a bipartisan budget, nor has it ever.

The governor has 12 days to sign or veto the budget bills once he receives them, but many Capitol staff say that he is planning on continuing negotiations for his own plan.

JUNE 15, 2011

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