Lawmakers point fingers over budget impasse

August 7, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Republican leaders are brushing off Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's pledge not to sign any bills until lawmakers pass a budget. The latest wrinkle in the budget stalemate puts the future of high speed rail and some consumer protection measures on hold. These and other bills are in jeopardy as the annual deadlock among legislators threatens to put the state in crisis.

There seems to be no end in sight for the budget stalemate, all while state workers get minimum wage and some government services aren't getting funded.

"The public wants to see action on the budget, and they want to see it now," said Republican Assm. Rick Keene of Chico.

Republican lawmakers tried and tried to get the Democrats to put their tax-raising budget proposal up for a vote. It was on the agenda as file no. 67.

"I make a motion to take up item 67 immediately," said Republican Assm. Todd Spitzer of Orange.

"We are proceeding, just so everyone can follow, numerically," said Democratic Assm. Alberto Torrico of Newark.

But those efforts were blocked every time.

The microphone softly picked up Democratic Assembly Speaker Karen Bass leading the charge by saying, "let's just defeat the motion."

"I think the gamesmanship, frankly, is immature. It is is not the type of decorum I like to have on the floor," said Bass.

The governor issued a threat this week saying he will veto every bill until there's a budget.

"I will not sign any bills that reach my desk. That means that some good bills will fail, yes," said the governor.

Lawmakers aren't exactly shaking in their boots. They'll just delay sending legislation on to the governor.

The Assembly passed several bills including prostitution crackdowns and more consumer protections, but no budget.

"We're wasting time right now on matters that don't really matter to California. We should be talking about the budget. We should be voting on the budget," said Republican Assm. Anthony Adams of Hesperia.

And just when lawmakers get to file no. 67, it's time to go home for the weekend. Democrats say they needed more time to analyze budget amendments Republicans handed in late Wednesday.


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