Group questions if California state budget passed Friday is complete

3:20 PM, Jun 18, 2012   |    comments
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By Nannette Miranda

SACRAMENTO, CA - Lawmakers' paychecks and tax-free living expenses are still on the way to their bank accounts.

Using majority vote powers, Democrats passed the main budget bill on the Friday deadline, but the numerous trailer bills that implement the spending or cuts haven't been acted on.

By most standards, that's an incomplete budget and therefore, politicians shouldn't get paid.

"This budget should be called an 'I want to get paid budget.' That's all it is. It's not balanced," Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association spokesperson Jon Coupal said."It is a fictitious budget. If it were in Barnes and Noble, it would be in the fiction section."

But Senate President Darrell Steinberg defended the continuation of their pay.

"I work about 15 hours a day and we passed a budget which is balanced," Steinberg said.

But Steinberg admits because Gov. Jerry Brown and Democrats disagree on how deeply to cut welfare, the budget work is not done.

"I know it's not popular, and I know it's easy as heck to take the shots, but I'm proud of what we did on Friday, and we'll finish the job now," Steinberg said.

Proposition 25 was popular with California voters in 2010, giving the Legislature the authority to pass state budgets with just a majority vote, but would forfeit wages and per diem for every day it's late after June 15.

Last year, lawmakers were each docked an average of $3,200.

But a court ruled this year, State Controller John Chiang shouldn't be the sole determiner of whether paychecks should be docked because one person in government can't have that kind of power.

"According to court, there doesn't seem anyone available to enforce that provision of Proposition 25," Assm. Don Wagner, R-Irvine, said.

Since Brown hasn't rejected the budget Democrats gave him Friday, which seems to suggest he's still willing to negotiate before using that veto pen.


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